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Phyllis Diller (July 17, 1917 – August 20, 2012) was an American actress and comedienne. She created a stage persona of a wild-haired, eccentrically dressed housewife who makes self-deprecating jokes about her age and appearance, her terrible cooking, and a husband named "Fang", while pretending to smoke from a long cigarette holder. Diller's signature was her unusual laugh.
http://en.wikipedia.org/...

She always made me laugh.  She was one of the first women to do standup comedy, and she made it big-time, opening the doors that the comediennes of my generation further shoved apart.

This short clip is very funny, and typical.  Unfortunately, it is also "embedding disabled by request."

http://www.youtube.com/...

Her first network TV performance:

From her final standup performance.  You know you're old when...


Diller began her career working at KROW radio in Oakland, California in 1952. In November of that year, she began filming a television show titled Phyllis Dillis, the Homely Friendmaker.

snip

Diller first appeared as a stand-up at The Purple Onion on March 7, 1955 and remained there for 87 straight weeks. Diller appeared on "Del Courtney's Showcase" on KPIX television on November 3, 1956. After moving to Webster Groves, in St Louis in 1961, Diller honed her act in St. Louis clubs such as Gaslight Square's Crystal Palace. Mid-1960s - St Louis was always home to her. Getting her first start on the Charlotte Peters Show in St Louis, where many got their start. Diller's fame grew when she co-starred with Bob Hope in 23 television specials and three films in the 1960s: Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, Eight on the Lam, and The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell. Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! performed well at the box office and Diller accompanied Hope to Vietnam in 1966 with his USO troupe during the height of the Vietnam War

Roasting Joan Collins:

More standup:

Appearing on What's My Line?

Another wonderful embedding-disabled clip:

http://www.youtube.com/...

Ms. Diller was 95 years old, and had a long and hilarious career.  RIP, Phyllis.  Thanks for the laughs...and as Bob Hope would say, the memories.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 05:18:23 PM PDT

  •  A bit late tonight...I only learned (13+ / 0-)

    of her passing at five of seven, Eastern, and I wasn't home yet.

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 05:19:45 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for putting this together..... (9+ / 0-)

    Ah HAAAA!

    Still enjoying my stimulus package.

    by Kevvboy on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 05:34:18 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the memories. She was special. (7+ / 0-)

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 05:37:56 PM PDT

  •  About 6 years ago in a radio interview (8+ / 0-)

    I'm a terrible driver..with these digital dashboards..I can't tell if it's 1'clock or I'm going 100 miles an hour

  •  One of my first childhood memories (5+ / 0-)

    was that laugh! Geez, the longevity of her career is stunning! And immortalized on both Family Guy and Robot Chicken (and probably the Simpsons, too, but I haven't looked). In my book, this means the lady was cool to the very end. May you rest in peace, Phyllis :)

    It is time to #Occupy Media.

    by lunachickie on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 05:58:57 PM PDT

  •  One of my favorites (5+ / 0-)

    I have so many wonderful memories of her from her many visits on all of the talk show circuits back in the 60's.

    I learned recently (in the excellent documentary "Carol Channing: Larger than Life") that Phyllis starred on broadway in "Hello, Dolly!" in the fall of 1969 for 3 months.

    I happened to have stumbled upon an episode of Rosanne's reality series called "Roseanne's Nuts" recently where Phyllis paid a visit to her Hawaiian homestead. I believe she was 92 at the time it was filmed. Rosanne took her out  one night and Phyllis drank her under the table! The more she drank, the funnier she got.

    What an amazing life ... as your dear friend Bob would say ...

    "Thanks for the Memories!"

    •  oh, do tell! (5+ / 0-)

      Is there a clip of that you can either embed or link to?  I'd love to see it...and if it's embeddable, I'd love to update this diary to include it.

      Time constraints kept me from delving too far into YT...and slow-to-load and bad cinematography excluded some other clips.

      But I'm sure we'd ALL love to see Phyllis and Roseanne.  Ha!

      To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

      by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:11:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's one of the Rosanne clips (3+ / 0-)

        I could't find any of the Channing documentary which includes a couple short pics and is currently running on Showtime On Demand and probably  available on Netflix.

        Another interesting thing that I learned from the Channing film ... Jo Ann Worley ("Laugh-In") was  Carol's Dolly understudy, but since Carol never missed a performance, Jo Ann never went on.

        Here's one of the vist to Rosanne's  ... there are several others.

        •  Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          akdude6016, klompendanser

          That was indeed funny but...no offense...I don't think I will put it in the diary after all.  It's not...quite in keeping with the tribute although it is perfect for the comments.

          To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

          by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 07:14:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Youffraita (6+ / 0-)

    I'd like to pay tribute to the two men who really got her off the ground -- Groucho Marx and Jack Paar.

    Seems Phyllis was a contestant on You Bet Your Life and at the end of her sequence, Groucho said words to the effect of "You're a funny lady," which it appears let her know that life as a comedian was not an impossible idea.

    Then, her first TV appearance was on Jack Paar's show. I think the fact that Johnny Carson was on the air for SO long makes us forget that the show predated him by several years.

    Funny lady indeed. No Phyllis, CERTAINLY no Joan Rivers, but I really think the comedian who learned the most from Phyllis was Roseanne.  No, I haven't thought that through yet.

    Finally, I got this from a wonderful tribute Shepard Smith did on Fox News. Yes, Fox News. I think that confirms everything we think of Shep.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:18:08 PM PDT

    •  Oh, I forgot about Joan Rivers! (3+ / 0-)

      Of course -- she was the next standup comedienne after Phyllis.  They were contemporaries in some ways, but Phyllis was older...and was there first.

      To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

      by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:31:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I remember (4+ / 0-)

    is her voice; it was always distinctive.

    Thanks for this, I hadn't heard that she passed away.

    A long life, well lived.

    Interesting to me to think about Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller as a type: they both made it big in the 50's as female comics who could make fun of the wife role.

    Joan Rivers' act evolved with time, but Phyllis Diller's never really did.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:22:55 PM PDT

  •  May Phillis Diller rest in peace with Fang, her (6+ / 0-)

    long departed husband.

    Ninety five!  Would we all live that long and have such a blessed, fun giving and loving life.

    And now about that Medicare that Ryan/Romney wants to take away.  I think she might have a joke or a thought or two about it.

  •  Loved her comedy routines as a kid... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, mama jo

    our whole family could agree that she was worth laughing with!

    Back when I was around 10, we never missed an episode of "Pruitts of Southampton" ... probably wouldn't hold up to standards of today ... er, considering the recent crop of
    sitcoms, maybe it would.

    Preview

    Theme song which gets stuck in head now and then

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 07:20:55 PM PDT

    •  OMG, 'danser, how'd I miss that one? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      klompendanser

      There must have been another show on at the same time that my parents always had to watch...I dunno.

      My parents probably wouldn't have liked it (or known anything about Southampton, LOL).

      Wow.  Wow.  I would LOVE to see episodes from that, it looks delightfully like the rebuttal to The Beverly Hillbillies.

      In fact, I think it must have been.  Late '60s, right?

      To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

      by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 07:34:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, on all counts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Youffraita

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Nowadays, I'd hesitate to watch so as not to mess up my memories, but if you haven't seen it -- GO for it. :)

        "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

        by klompendanser on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:21:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OMG, based on House Party (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          klompendanser

          by Patrick Dennis.

          If I am not mistaken, that would be the Patrick Dennis of Mame fame.  The little boy Auntie Mame raises.

          This Mame:

          To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

          by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:36:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I believe so ... definitely some Mame (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Youffraita

            elements in the character ... but I didn't make the connection at the time. I didn't see Auntie Mame until 1968-69 (I know our first color TV was pretty new), and I didn't read any of Dennis' books until many years after that.

            "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

            by klompendanser on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:40:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Definitely. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              klompendanser

              I just found it at Wiki, but too late to connect with you.

              See my latest comment replying to your previous one.

              To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

              by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:45:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, that's the one: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          klompendanser
          Patrick Dennis (pseudonym of Edward Everett Tanner III) (May 18, 1921 – November 6, 1976) was an American author. His novel Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade (1955) was one of the bestselling American books of the 20th century.[1] In chronological vignettes, the narrator - also named Patrick - recalls his adventures growing up under the wing of his madcap aunt, Mame Dennis.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

          by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:43:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I remember watching her as a kid-- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, klompendanser

    she was so funny, and a real ground-breaker
    as a woman in that field.  

    RIP, Phyllis---you will be missed.

    •  Yes... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mama jo, klompendanser

      Check out the two embedding-disabled links in my diary.  Both YTs are short, and both show Phyllis Diller at her classical best.  (And they load with no glitches!)

      Damn embedding-disabled.  :(

      To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

      by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 08:16:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I did watch them! She still makes me laugh! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Youffraita

        When i was about 8, my mother asked me what i wanted
        to be when i grew up.

        I did love Lucy, and Phyllis, so I told her:  a comedian!

        And altho i didn't grow up to be a comedian--or a
        comedienne (didn't they used to make
        that distinction for women?, or am i mis-remembering?)---
        i am kind of a smart-ass :)

        •  Yes, they used to make that distinction (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mama jo, klompendanser

          comedian vs. comedienne -- and although it is passe I have used it here tonight to make a point.

          Women and men are, today, both actors.  Women and men are, today, both comedians.

          But back in the day, Lucille Ball and Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller were comediennes.  I wouldn't want my wording to make anyone confused on that point: they were ground-breaking comediennes at a time when only men (comedians) were supposed to be funny.

          (An overstatement, perhaps, but very close to true given the stereotypes of the time.)

          (Oh, and Gracie Allen notwithstanding -- but she didn't do standup.)

          To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

          by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 08:43:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i've noticed this-- (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Youffraita, klompendanser

            what we would have called stand-up comedians
            in the past seem to now be....comics.  
            [sometimes:  stand-up comics--and "comics"
            is a word i would have thought to be associated
            with the cartoons you'd find in the newspaper.]

            comedians seems to have become a general term
            for something else--maybe "actors who do comedy,
            but are not necessarily stand-ups."

            meh.  forgive me--i'm rambling here :)
            Just kind of interesting how terms evolve.

            In any event, thanks for this write-up tonight.
            The old gal certainly deserved a good send-off.

            •  You're welcome and thanks for (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mama jo, klompendanser

              stopping by and I agree with you:

              The old gal certainly deserved a good send-off.
              I was surprised to find as many good-quality, quick-to-load clips as I did.  Bummer that the two best were embedding-disabled, but, oh well.

              To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

              by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:13:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, sorry, mama jo: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mama jo

              Didn't even speak to your semantics problem there...guess I'm a bit too tired also.

              Anyway:

              comedians seems to have become a general term for something else--maybe "actors who do comedy,
              but are not necessarily stand-ups."
              Maybe I missed something, but comedians has always (through my lifetime) meant actors who do comedy.  Starting with Burns and Allen (no, I'm not that old, but I saw them on TV reruns) and continuing right through M*A*S*H and All in the Family, through Roseanne, through Absolutely Fabulous.

              Comics (besides the in-print variety) generally refers to standup comics/comedians.  Like how Roseanne Barr's career began.

              At that point, if you start to parse all the usages of comic/comics/comedians/comediennes/comic strips/comix...

              your head will explode.  Or as Lucy would say, 'splode.

              To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

              by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:23:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  funny ladies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, klompendanser

    women are funny. my grandmother and aunts and girlfriends would laugh ourselves silly at our stories and misadventures. I am so glad some of them paved the way into the big time, and into our homes and hearts. Phyllis Diller became a caricature in some ways, but she was a sharp savvy ,funny lady and made us laugh, and heaven knows , she kept her act going for  what 60 -70 plus years? In  a time of high glamour, when women were perfectly coifured and demur, she made it OK to be an outrageous, imperfect woman.

     From the 50s and 60s I think about  Phyllis  Diller , Joan Rivers and Carol Channing.Also Martha Raye.  I also am reminded of the wonderful evenings of laughter Carol Burnett brought into our home. I even remember the Mike Douglas show after school, and a comedienne named Totie Fields, who was a stand up,in the tradition of hardworking stand ups.
    if I think back  further of course there was Lucille Ball, Gracie Allen,  and Mae West, and the women of radio and Vaudeville. I'm sure more will come to mind.

    •  Yes! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      klompendanser

      Thanks, manyamile, that is exactly it: they all made us laugh, and they were groundbreakers b/c supposedly only men were funny...women didn't have a sense of humor.

      As Phyllis Diller would say, ahhahahahahahahhahahaha!

      To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

      by Youffraita on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:26:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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