A true comedy legend has died at the age of 95. Phyllis Diller passed away in her sleep earlier today at her home in Brentwood, California.
Born in 1917 in Lima, Ohio, Diller was first a housewife, mother and then a advertising copywriter. She’d studied music in her earlier years but gave it up, believing that she’d never be as good as her teachers.
In 1955, she was a mother of five children living in Northern California. It was then, at the age of 37, that she made her nightclub debut at the Purple Onion in San Francisco. She kept working there for 87 straight weeks and over the years developed a unique self-deprecating act that kept her working in stand-up for the rest of her life.
While she was best known for her stand-up career, Diller appeared in several movies and made numerous TV appearances. They include Batman, Get Smart, The Red Skelton Hour, Love American Style, CHiPs, THe Love Boat, As the World Turns, 227, Blossom, The Bold and the Beautiful, and 7th Heaven.
She starred in two short-lived TV series; a 1966 sitcom called The Pruitts of Southampton (later retitled The Phyllis Diller Show) on ABC and the NBC variety show The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show in 1968
Diller also had a very impressive voiceover career, lending her vocal talents to shows like Animaniacs, King of the Hill, Hey Arnold!, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, The Powerpuff Girls, and Family Guy (as Peter’s mother). A fixture on Bob Hope’s specials, Diller also appeared on many, many talk, game and variety shows over the span of six decades.
Diller was married twice and both ended in divorce. She is survived by her son, Perry; her daughters, Sally Diller and Suzanne Mills; four grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.
What do you think? Do you have any particular memories of Phyllis Diller and her work?