skip navigation
Phyllis Diller

Phyllis Diller

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Who Killed The Electric Car... In 1996, electric cars began to appear on roads all over California. They were... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

Wait Till Your Father Gets Home: Season 1... Voices of Willie Aames, Tom Bosley, Joan Gerber. As they say, father knows best... more info $44.98was $44.98 Buy Now

Maniac & Narcotic DVD Produced outside of the studio system on virtually no budget, embracing themes... more info $29.95was $29.95 Buy Now

Forget About It DVD The Golden Years just got interesting. "Forget About It" (2006) stars Burt... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Eight On The Lam DVD A bank teller is suspected of embezzlement and goes on the run with his seven... more info $19.95was $19.95 Buy Now

Casper's Scare School DVD Casper the Friendly Ghost won't stand idly by while villains try to take over... more info $6.99was $6.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Phyllis Ada Driver Died: August 20, 2012
Born: July 17, 1917 Cause of Death: Undetermined
Birth Place: Lima, Ohio, USA Profession: comedian, actor, concert pianist, advertising copywriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A groundbreaking pioneer in American comedy, comedienne Phyllis Diller represented the face of the female stand-up comic for a generation of baby boomers. She predated Roseanne Barr's "Domestic Goddess" shtick by more than two decades, shooting to stardom in the 1950s with her eccentric, strangely attired housewife alter ego. An ironic underdog with a head of frazzled hair and excessive make-up, Diller endeared herself to an era of prosperous post-war middle Americans through stand-up, as well as musical and comedy routines. Her countless television appearances made Diller a household name, and she was forever seen in daytime talk shows and comedy-driven game shows like "The Hollywood Squares" (NBC, 1966-1980; 1983-84) and "The Gong Show" (NBC, 1976-1989) as a comic "personality," forever puffing smoke from a long cigarette holder, and shooting off rapid-fire punch lines punctuated with her trademark loud, distinctive cackle.

A groundbreaking pioneer in American comedy, comedienne Phyllis Diller represented the face of the female stand-up comic for a generation of baby boomers. She predated Roseanne Barr's "Domestic Goddess" shtick by more than two decades, shooting to stardom in the 1950s with her eccentric, strangely attired housewife alter ego. An ironic underdog with a head of frazzled hair and excessive make-up, Diller endeared herself to an era of prosperous post-war middle Americans through stand-up, as well as musical and comedy routines. Her countless television appearances made Diller a household name, and she was forever seen in daytime talk shows and comedy-driven game shows like "The Hollywood Squares" (NBC, 1966-1980; 1983-84) and "The Gong Show" (NBC, 1976-1989) as a comic "personality," forever puffing smoke from a long cigarette holder, and shooting off rapid-fire punch lines punctuated with her trademark loud, distinctive cackle.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 I Am Comic (2010)
2.
3.
4.
 Still Life, The (2007)
6.
 Aristocrats, The (2005)
7.
 Moto X Kids (2004)
8.
 Kiss My Act (2001) Herself
9.
 Nuttiest Nutcracker, The (2000) Voice Of Sugar Plum Fairy
10.
 Bug's Life, A (1998) Voice Of The Queen
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1955:
Auditioned at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, CA
1957:
Made debut as comedienne at the Purple Onion in San Francisco at age 40
1961:
Stage acting debut, "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs"
1961:
Cast in film debut as famed 1920s nightclub hostess Texas Guinan in "Splendor in the Grass"
1965:
Began long professional relationship with Bob Hope as guest on his numerous variety specials; also later traveled with Hope to Vietnam to entertain U.S. troops
1966:
Made first of three films with Hope, "Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!"
1966:
TV series debut, "The Pruitts of Southampton" (ABC); later re-named "The Phyllis Diller Show"
1968:
Starred in the feature "Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady?"
1968:
Headlined the NBC variety series "The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show"
1970:
Starred in "Hello, Dolly!" on Broadway; took over the role after Carol Channing, Ginger Rogers, Martha Raye, and Betty Grable had played the part of Dolly Gallagher Levi
1972:
Went public with the first of her numerous plastic surgeries (a facelift), including jokes about it in her comedy routines
1979:
Acted in the comedy "A Pleasure Doing Business"
1983:
Appeared on the NBC game shows "Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour" and "Celebrity Hot Potato"
1987:
Voiced The White Queen in animated feature "Alice Through the Looking Glass"
1993:
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
1993:
Landed recurring role on the NBC series "Blossom"
1998:
Voiced the Queen in the animated feature "A Bug's Life"
1999:
Landed recurring guest role on "The Bold and the Beautiful" (CBS)
2005:
Wrote memoir <i>Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse</i>
2006:
Provided guest voice work on Fox animated series "Family Guy"
2007:
Made a cameo on ABC's "Boston Legal"
2009:
Featured in the documentary "How to Live Forever"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Sherwood Music Conservatory: Chicago , Illinois - 1935 - 1937
Bluffton College: Bluffton , Ohio - 1938 - 1939

Notes

Diller suffered a heart attack in February 1999.

In 2001, she was the first female inducted into the Friars Club Wall of Fame.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Sherwood Anderson Diller. Married on November 4, 1939; divorced September 1965; died in 1993.
husband:
Ward Donovan. Actor, singer. Married on October 7, 1965; divorced in July 1975.
companion:
Robert P Hastings. Attorney. Together from c. 1985 until his death in May 1996.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Perry Marcus Driver.
mother:
Frances Ada Driver.
son:
Peter Diller III. Deceased.
daughter:
Sally Diller.
daughter:
Suzanne Miles.
daughter:
Stephanie Waldron.
son:
Perry Diller.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Phyllis Diller Tells All About Fang" Doubleday
"Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints" Doubleday
"Phyllis Diller's Marriage Manual" Doubleday
"The Complete Mother" Doubleday
"The Joys of Aging and How to Use Them" Doubleday
"Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy" Penguin Group
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute