Sporting a long, unlit cigarette, wild hair and a fake husband named Fang, Phyllis Diller rose the comedic ranks in the early 1950s. Her comedy was aggressive but still feminine, a mix of self-deprecating, clever and muggy. It won over audiences across the country and impressed Bob Hope. The legendary comedian became so enamored with Diller that he featured her in twenty-three of his television specials, three of his movies and numerous USO shows. Increased popularity followed, as did her own television shows and specials.
Following a career that spanned more than sixty years, Diller passed away this morning at her home in Los Angeles. According to TMZ, the comedienne had recently suffered a fall and never quite recovered from her injuries. She was ninety-five and reportedly receiving hospice care inside her home at the time of her passing.
Diller succeeded in the comedy industry by doing things her own way. She never tired to adopt a male persona or talk about the same things the men who went on before and after her did. She built her own character and saw humor through her own eyes. People really related to that different perspective, and decades later, much of her material still feels sharp and clever. Her legacy will be remembered first as a woman who made millions smile and second as a trailblazer who broke new ground.
Pop Blend’s sincerest well-wishes go out to Diller’s entire family. Her smile and awesomely obnoxious laugh will be missed.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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