Comedian Phyllis Diller has died, manager says
August 20th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

Comedian Phyllis Diller has died, manager says

Comedian Phyllis Diller, known for her self-deprecating humor, died "peacefully in her sleep" at her Los Angeles home Monday morning, her manager told CNN. Diller was 95.

"Her son, Perry, found her with a smile on her face," Milt Suchin said.

Diller , who paved the way for female comedians, began her legendary stand-up comedy career at the age of 37.

"We lost a comedy legend today," comedian Ellen DeGeneres tweeted. "Phyllis Diller was the queen of the one-liners. She was a pioneer."

Diller's career as a stand-up comic skyrocketed in the 1960s, partly because of her many appearances with Bob Hope on his television specials and USO tours. Diller remained good friends with Hope until his death.

iReport: Phyllis Diller original paintings

She became a pop culture icon for her disparaging jokes about her looks, her cooking and her husband "Fang."

"She was a true pioneer," said talent agent Fred Wostbrock. "She was the first lady of stand-up comedy. She paved the way for everybody. She paved the way for Joan Rivers, Chelsea Handler, Roseanne Barr, Ellen Degeneres, and all the women stand-up comics. She was the first and the best."

Comedian Whoopi Goldberg tweeted that she was said the world lost a funny, classy and smart woman like Diller.

"A true original has died," Goldberg tweeted, adding that there was nobody who looked or sounded like her.

Diller's first appearance on TV was as a contestant on Groucho Marx's show "You Bet Your Life."

Diller was also known her for hilarious roasts of major personalities. You can watch her roast Ronald Reagan here:

Obituaries 2012: The lives they've lived 'She was a true pioneer'


soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Thinks2010

    Phyllis was one of the funniest people who ever lived (at least in my lifetime). She put many smiles on my face so I'm glad she was able to leave with a smile on hers. I'd say "Rest in peace," but I expect there will be a bit less peace in heaven and a lot more laughter. Thanks–we'll miss you.

    August 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Julia

    Thanks for all the laughs I was able to share with my dad while I was growing up. I have the best memories of him & I watching you on our black and white TV. And he had the best channel changer in the world. ME! RIP to a beautiful, smart and very funny lady. The world is a sadder place today without your laugh. Please tell dad a joke for me when you see him at your next show.

    August 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    A true giant in the comedic industry has passed on.
    That she was a woman that forged a path for other ladies of comedy just makes her passing more bittersweet.
    Rest In Peace, Miss Diller.

    August 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alan Lynes

    I remember seeing Phyllis Diller at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs in the late 60's I believe it was.
    She was unbelievably funny and outrageous and wonderful. The dress she wore (bright yellow with huge white daisies all over it)is a memory I will never forget.

    God bless you Phyllis.

    August 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 60's chick

    I remember seeing Phyllis in Las Vegas back in 1974 and I will never forget how funny she was. I was doubled over from laughing so hard – those one-liners kept coming so fast & furious.

    We lost another great one today.

    August 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Terisa

    I met Ms. Diller when she did a taping of the Phil Donahue show in the 80's. She was friendly, warm, engaging and I felt like I was talking to an old friend. She made ME feel like the celebrity by saying to the other panelists, "look at her, isn't she cute." A class act who made a huge impact on female comedy. RIP.

    August 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fred

    WE have lost not only a funny lady, a pioneer in comedy, a legend and an icon. She was one of the funniest ladies ever!

    August 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. USAFrank

    People of the United States of America,
    We have lost another great American Icon,Phyllis Diller was a great comedian and in my youth I remember her appearing on Johnny Carson and ED Sullivan shows. She will be missed.

    August 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bobcat (in a hat)©

    Sorry to see her leave us. That was one crazy lady. And that laugh. It will live on forever.

    August 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rascal Rabble

    i like phyllis too...but I'm sorry she did NOT pave the way for women comedians...if I remember correctly there was Moms Mabley and Minnie Pearl...there was also an actress that crack me up everytime who played Ma Kettle...y'all people need t'learn to be historically accurate...

    August 20, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • ColoradoGirl57

      Ma Kettle was played Marjorie Main

      August 20, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Firecat

      Rascal, Marjorie Main and Moms Mabley were not primarily STAND-UP comedians. Phyllis Diller *was*, in fact, a pioneer in stand-up comedy.

      August 21, 2012 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. bobcat (in a hat)©

    Why feel sorry for me ? I don't.. I'm going to live my life until I die. And wen I do, I'm sure not going to lose any sleep over it. Life goes on, and until it doesn't.

    August 20, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. shannpalmer

    I wish people would stop including Chelsea Handler in lists of comedians.

    Phyllis is a great loss.

    August 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Firecat

      Why, Shann? Chelsea Handler is a popular and successful comedian. You may not like her style of comedy (I don't particularly, either), but that's just one person's opinion. Many others apparently do like her, or she wouldn't be successful.

      August 21, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. Morgan Sheridan

    Sad news. Phyllis was a total hoot and my mom and I just had a lot of laughs on account of her. She was in a class all by herself!

    August 21, 2012 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kathy Koogler

    They say Phylis Diller wass born in 1912 would that not make her 100 years old?

    August 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • hunter

      Actually, she was born in 1912 BC; she was over 3500 years old.

      August 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. entertainment news

    What i believe,whats the age?
    funny videos

    January 23, 2013 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
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