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Phyllis Diller

Phyllis DillerAKA Phyllis Ada Driver

Born: 17-Jul-1917
Birthplace: Lima, OH
Died: 20-Aug-2012
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: Natural Causes

Gender: Female
Religion: Atheist [1]
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Comic, Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The original female stand-up comic

Phyllis Diller wanted to be a concert pianist, and studied at Chicago's Sherwood Music Conservatory. But fate intervened: she fell in love, got married, raised a family, and in 1955 she was a frumpy 37-year-old housewife who wanted to do stand-up comedy. She worked as a newspaper columnist and a publicist -- an odd combination of careers that may have given her an edge when she tried out at San Francisco's famous Purple Onion night club. They gave her a two-week gig, and when her ghastly laugh and self-deprecating humor made her a hit, her act was held over for almost two years.

Diller cut her first comedy album in 1959, then made her motion picture debut in a small role as a nightclub star in the Warren Beatty-Natalie Wood romantic melodrama Splendor in the Grass. In 1963, she guested on What's My Line?, and after that she showed up on several of Bob Hope's TV specials and three of Hope's movies, most memorably as his maid in Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number (1966). She played a bankrupted millionaire in the late-'60s sit-com, The Pruitts of Southampton.

Diller had a pacemaker installed in 1999. She has announced her retirement at least three times, and in 2002 she again announced she had done her last stand-up gig. She had a recurring role on The Bold and the Beautiful through 2004.

She did not like dirty jokes, and did not appreciate the urban legend that she was Susan Lucci's mother (there is no relation). She died in 2012.


[1] Originally raised a Methodist. But see Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, 1 January 1999: "We were not created by a deity. We created the deity on our image." Quoted later, in the November 2001 issue of A&U magazine: "Religion is such a medieval idea. Don't get me started. I have thought about every facet of religion and I can't buy any of it."

Father: Perry Marcus Driver (b. 1862, d. 1948)
Mother: Frances Ada Romshe (b. 1881, d. 1949)
Husband: Sherwood Anderson Diller (m. 4-Nov-1939, div. 3-Sep-1965)
Son: Perry
Son: Peter
Daughter: Sally
Daughter: Stephanie
Daughter: Suzanne
Husband:
Warde Donovan (actor, m. 7-Oct-1965, div. 12-May-1975)

    University: Bluffton College

    Friars Club
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 7001 Hollywood Blvd (television)
    St. Louis Walk of Fame
    Kentucky Colonel
    Breast Reduction Surgery
    Rhinoplasty
    Wedding: David Gest and Liza Minnelli (2002)
    Endorsement of Bank One 1962
    Risk Factors: Pacemaker

    TELEVISION
    The Bold and the Beautiful Gladys Pope (1999-2004)
    Blossom Mrs. Peterson (1993-94)
    The Pruitts of Southampton Phyllis Pruitt (1966-67)

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    Carol Channing: Larger Than Life (20-Jan-2012) · Herself
    How to Live Forever (Oct-2009) · Herself
    Who Killed the Electric Car? (23-Jan-2006) · Herself
    The Aristocrats (Jan-2005) · Herself
    Motocross Kids (31-Jan-2004)
    The Last Place on Earth (1-Jan-2002)
    Kiss My Act (23-Apr-2001) · Herself
    Everything's Jake (2000) · Victoria Pond
    A Bug's Life (14-Nov-1998) [VOICE]
    The Silence of the Hams (13-Jul-1994)
    Happily Ever After (28-May-1993) [VOICE]
    Wisecracks (Jun-1992) · Herself
    The Boneyard (12-Jun-1991)
    The Nutcracker Prince (21-Nov-1990) [VOICE]
    Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog (1990)
    Alice Through the Looking Glass (1987) [VOICE]
    Pink Motel (Nov-1982)
    The Adding Machine (23-Sep-1969)
    Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady? (14-Jul-1968)
    The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell (8-May-1968)
    Eight on the Lam (4-Apr-1967)
    Mad Monster Party? (8-Mar-1967) · Monster's Mate [VOICE]
    Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1-Jun-1966) · Lily
    The Fat Spy (11-May-1966)
    Splendor in the Grass (10-Oct-1961) · Texas Guinan

Author of books:
Phyllis Diller Tells All About Fang (1963)
Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints (1966)
Phyllis Diller's Marriage Manual (1967)
The Joys of Aging & How to Avoid Them (1981)
Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse (2005, memoir)


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