After a career as an actress and comedian than spanned over 40 years, Phyllis Diller has passed away at the age of 95 in her Los Angeles home.
Diller began her career as a stand-up in 1955, and quickly became notorious as one of the most influential women in comedy. Considered a trailblazer, having become a feminist icon who broke the gender barrier in comedy, her act has shaped the voice of female comedians who followed her. After her professional stand-up debut at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, Diller remained booked as a performer for 87 consecutive weeks. By the early 1960s she had become a full blown television star, most notably due to her long list of television specials starring alongside Bob Hope. The duo also made three films together, The Private Navy of Sgt. O’Farrell, Eight on the Run and Boy, Did I Get The Wrong Number.
In addition to continuing her work as a stand-up until her retirement in 2005, she contributed her voice to film and television projects such as A Bug’s Life and Family Guy, continued to make rounds on the late-night circuit, and published her autobiography Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse. More recently, she appeared in the I Am Comic documentary. If you’ve seen it, you know that Diller remained sharp and hilarious right up to her final years. Below, watch a classic clip of Diller performing stand-up on the Ed Sullivan Show