Phyllis Diller, the housewife turned comedian and actress, passed away Monday morning at age 95. Her son, Perry Diller, found her in her Los Angeles home. The cause of her death has yet to be released, but Milton Suchin, her manager, told The Associated Press: “She died peacefully in her sleep and with a smile on her face.” Diller suffered a near-fatal heart attack back in 1999. Back in 2005 Diller spoke to Barbara Schroeder, the author of “Beverly Hills Confidential:A century of Stars, Scandals and Murder.”
“I’d like to be known for funny, ’cause that’s my major work.’” She also said, “I’d like to be known as an artist.” Diller built her act around a slippery corner-cutting house wife with crazy outlandish looks, a wardrobe to rival, and a husband named ‘Fang.’
Celebrities and the public alike will miss Diller. “A true original has died,” writes Whoopie Goldberg, “There was NO one like her, no one looked like her sounded like her. A FUNNY FUNNY. Classy & smart. RIP”
And Diller was an original. In 1961 Time magazine had this to say of her:
“Onstage comes something that, by its own description, looks like a sackful of doorknobs. With hair dyed by Alcoa, pipe-cleaner limbs and knees just missing one another when the feet are wide apart, this is not Princess Volupine. It is Phyllis Diller, the poor man’s Auntie Mame, only successful female among the New Wave comedians and one of the few women funny and tough enough to belt out a ‘standup’ act of one-line gags.”
In 1995 during an interview with AP she described herself as “one of those life-of-the-party types. You’ll find them in every bridge club, at every country club. People invited me to parties only because they knew i would supply some laughs. They still do.” In 1958 a Chicago Tribune columnist hailed her “the weirdest, wildest yet.” (and made sure to mention her five children, as crazy as her no doubt)
“The older I get, the funnier I get,” she said in 1961, “Think what I’ll save in not having my face lifted.”
Diller has left behind two children, four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. Plans for her funeral services are still underway.
Phyllis Diller Dead: 1917-2012
Comedian Phyllis Diller, known for her trademark cackle and bizzare looks, dies at 95 in Los Angeles.
Phyllis Diller Jokes
Actress/comedian Phyllis Diller has died at the age of 95.
“She was a true pioneer,” Fred Wostbrock said. “The first female stand-up comedian. She paved the way for everybody. She paved the way for Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Handler. Phyllis was the first of the first. The first female to play Vegas … she was on Broadway, she made movies. She did it all.”