Main | Monday, August 20, 2012

Phyllis Diller Dies At 95

Legendary comedienne Phyllis Diller died in her California home today at the age of 95.
Ms. Diller, who became famous for telling jokes that mocked her odd looks, her aversion to housekeeping and a husband she called Fang, was far from the first woman to do stand-up comedy. But she was one of the most influential. There were precious few women before her, if any, who could dispense one-liners with such machine-gun precision or overpower an audience with such an outrageous personality. One chestnut: “I once wore a peekaboo blouse. People would peek and then they’d boo.” Another: “I never made ‘Who’s Who,’ but I’m featured in ‘What’s That?’ ” Ms. Diller, a 37-year-old homemaker when she took up comedy, mined her domestic life for material, assuring audiences that she fed Fang and her kids garbage soup and buried her ironing in the backyard. She exudedan image that was part Wicked Witch of the West (a role she actually played in a St. Louis stage production of “The Wizard of Oz”) and part clown.
The Archive of American Television has posted a lovely tribute to Diller and her decades of work.

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