Entertainment » Celebrities

Pop Ups :: Remembering a Very Funny Lady

by Robert Nesti
EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor
Tuesday Aug 21, 2012

When I die, God won't know me," Phyllis Diller once joked. "There are no two parts of my body the same age. If I have one more facelift, it'll be a Cesarean."

Such self-deprecating remarks were typical of Diller, who died yesterday in her sleep with (according to her son) a smile on her face at the age of 95.

Yet over a career that spanned more than a half-a-century, Diller was not only a most funny comic, but a trailblazer. Her industry friends and colleagued reacted to her passing on Twitter:

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

Joan Rivers: "I'm beyond saddened by the death of Phyllis Diller. We were friends - Melissa and I had a wonderful time with her at lunch just a month ago." She also said that "Diller was "the last from an era that insisted a woman had to look funny in order to be funny."

Whoopi Goldberg: "A true original has died. Phyllis DillerThere was NOOne like her, no 1looked like her sounded like her. A FUNNY FUNNY. Classy& Smart RIP"

According to the Associated Press, Diller entered "comedy as a nearly-40-year-old housewife with five kids, made herself the butt of many of her jokes, and did everything she could to play-up her offbeat appearance. She became a fixture in nightclubs and on TV for nearly a half-century.

"Her first husband managed her career until their 25-year marriage fell apart in the 1960s. She then married again, but separated within months. And she made it clear in an interview that neither husband was the "Fang" she referred to in so many of her jokes. Fang, she said, was ’permanent’ -- while her real husbands were just ’temporary’."

On the Ed Sullivan Show, October 5, 1969:

Doing stand-up in the mid-1970s:

Performing with Liberace on "The Liberace Show":

On The View as she was nearing 90:

A 2012 interview when Diller was awarded the Northwest Ohio Independent Film Festival: Phyllis Diller Lifetime Achievement Award. (One of her final interviews):

Robert Nesti can be reached at rnesti@edgemedianetwork.com.


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