Phyllis Diller, the pioneer of women comediennes, the one who entertained America with her hilarious jokes about her extensive plastic surgery, domestic drudgery and irascible husbands, died at 95 in her Los Angeles home in California.
“She died peacefully in her sleep and with a smile on her face,” her longtime manager, Milton Suchin, told The Associated Press.
It is known that the famous comedienne suffered a heart attack in 1999, but the cause of her death has not yet been released. She was found by her son Perry Diller, on August 20th. Phyllis began her career in the 1950s, when she decided to change her life as a housewife and become a comedienne, in a period when female comics were rare indeed. But she didn’t gave up her former life completely, as she built her stand-up act around the corner-cutting housewife character.
“I was one of those life-of-the-party types,” Diller told The Associated Press in 1965. “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.”
She had a full and complicated life, having to deal with her career, raising five children and her falling apart marriages and relationships. Her first husband, Sherwood Diller, was the one who managed her career during their 25-year marriage until the 1960s. Shortly after they divorce, Phyllis married entertainer Warde Donovan, only to become separated within months.
Although she also appeared in movies and sitcoms, standup comedy remained her truly love until 2002 when her career ended. She didn’t care about her looks, and she even tried to make her appearance as outrageous as possible, wearing freaky wigs and wearing shoes that made her legs look as skinny as possible.
“Would you believe that I once entered a beauty contest?” she said. “I must have been out of my mind. I not only came in last, I got 361 get-well cards.”