Phyllis Diller: Pioneer Stand-Up Comedienne Dies at 95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phyllis Diller has died at the age of 95 in Los Angeles California. Diller died Monday, August 20 at her home.

Diller paved the way for female stand-up comediennes when she took up comedy at the age of 37.

She was born Phyllis Ava Driver in Lima, Ohio on July 17, 1917. Her mom Frances Ada Driver was born in 1881 and her father Perry Marcus Driver was born during the Civil War in 1862.

She pursued a career as a pianist attending Sherwood Music Conservatory in Chicago for three years, but eventually gave up on a career as a musician.                                              

Diller launched her career in an unlikely place, the neighborhood laundromat as she told stories of her life at home and eventually was asked to do her comedy act at PTA meetings.

When she made her comedy club debut in 1938 at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, her two-week engagement lasted a year-and-a-half.

She was seen in many television shows and movies over the years:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0226887/

Phyllis Diller appearing on Ed Sullivan Show 43 years ago in 1969.

She has appeared with 100 symphony orchestras across the United States as a guest piano soloist.

Female comediennes today like Joan Rivers, Ellen Degeneres and others owe a debt of gratitude to Diller, since there were very few female stand-up comediennes when Diller hit the comedy circuit.

Plastic surgery became another source for comedy material, after she had fifteen surgical procedures done according to her 2005 autobiography.

Since Diller has been out of the spotlight for many years, we may have forgotten just how good of a comedienne that she was.

The world has lost another voice of laughter, at a time when the world could use more laughter, instead of less.

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Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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