Comedienne Phyllis Diller dies at 95
Zany onstage character traded one-liners on the war between men and women
With her haystack hair and thrift-store wardrobe, Phyllis Diller was
perhaps America's best-loved comedienne. Known for her trademark cackle
and zingy one-liners, Diller frequently used women's limited role in
contemporary society as fodder for her humor - but was embraced by
mainstream America regardless. Diller has died at the age of 95.
In an age where many females are highly conscious of their looks, Phyllis Diller did everything she could to accentuate them - negatively. Opting for outrageous fright wigs, she deliberately shopped for stage shoes that made her legs look as skinny as possible.
Hailing from the Midwest, Diller was a housewife and mother of five children toiling in Alameda, California when she got wind of the flourishing comedy scene in nearby San Francisco. Diller was a staple of nightclubs and television from the 1950s until her retirement.
Diller's humor revolved around how she balanced housework with her career. "I bury a lot of my ironing in the back yard." A lot of her barbs were directed at her unseen husband named "Fang."
Prodded into show business by her first husband, Sherwood Diller, she gave up a successful career as an advertising and radio writer. Her husband managed her career until the couple's 25-year marriage fell apart in the 1960s. Shortly after her divorce she married entertainer Warde Donovan, but they separated within months.
Diller also appeared in movies, including "Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number" and "Eight on the Lam" with Bob Hope. In 1968, she was also the host of a short-lived variety series, "The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show."
But standup comedy was her first love, and when she broke into the business in 1956 it was a field she had largely to herself because female comics weren't widely accepted then.
In an age where many females are highly conscious of their looks, Diller did everything she could to accentuate them - negatively. Opting for outrageous fright wigs, she deliberately shopped for stage shoes that made her legs look as skinny as possible.
"The older I get, the funnier I get," she said in 1961. "Think what I'll save in not having my face lifted."
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Celebrity News
- Vasculitis: The disease behind the slow, painful death of comedian Harold Ramis
- Iconic Eighties comedian Harold Ramis dies at 69
- Devo guitarist Bob Casale dies from heart failure at 61
- 'Father Walton' actor Ralph Waite dies at 85
- Comedian and TV pioneer Sid Caesar dies at 91
- Movie star Maximilian Schell dies at the age of 83
- Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman dead from apparent heroin overdose
- All dressed up with someplace to show - America goes crazy for 'costume play'
- 'Uncle Phil,' actor James Avery dies after heart surgery
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?