Legendary comic Phyllis Diller, a true American icon


Comic, film, television and stage actress, author, recording artist, spokesperson, gourmet cook, entrepreneur, concert pianist, philanthropist, humanitarian and unquestionably, one of the most beloved people in show business, Phyllis Diller is a woman loved and admired by millions.

As one of the world's pioneering stand-up comics, she has headlined in virtually every major supper club in the U.S. and scores around the world. She writes her own rapid-fire comedy routines. She has appeared in more than two dozen movies, scores of television specials and shows, recorded 5 major comedy albums, written four best-selling books and found time to help thousands throughout the world.

Diller was a young housewife with five children when her husband convinced her to make money with the talent she regularly displayed in PTA skits. She received her first national exposure as a contestant on Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life" in 1950, but her breakthrough came in March, 1955, at age 37, with her debut at San Francisco's Purple Onion club.

Diller's career was kick-started with a subsequent appearance on "The Tonight Show," hosted by Jack Paar (who would become one of her best friends), then thrown into high gear by Bob Hope, who saw her perform in a Washington, D.C. club. She went on to appear in three movies with Hope, and 23 of his television specials, more than any other guest.

The funny lady holds the world's record for attendance at the 7,000-seat Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Kansas and in the 12,000-seat Muny Opera in St. Louis, Missouri. She played the "Wicked Witch of the West" in "The Wizard of Oz" and the "Mean Old Stepmother" in "Cinderella" at both theaters. Her appearances on the CBS soap opera, "The Bold and The Beautiful," as "Gladys," make-over artist, triggered fan mail from more than 80 countries.

When variety shows dominated the television horizon, she had her own show on NBC called "The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show," and appeared repeatedly as a guest on all the other major shows. Her situation comedy, "The Pruitts of Southampton," played two seasons on ABC to critical acclaim.

Miss Diller's voice-over productions include the feature films "A Bug's Life" as well as "King of the Hill," "Animaniacs," "Scooby Doo," "The Wild Thornberries," "Cow and Chicken," "Hey Arnold!," "The Nutcracker Prince" and "Happily Ever After."

Her star shines luminously in many other fields of showbiz.

In the ten years from 1971 to 1981, Diller performed as a piano soloist with 100 symphony orchestras as the invented character, Dame Illya Dillya.

Of Miss Diller's concertizing, the Beverly Hills Independent said, "Phyllis Diller at the concert grand is no joke." The San Francisco Examiner said, "As demonstrated in Beethoven's piano concerto and several selections by Bach, Miss Diller is also a fine concert pianist with a firm touch."

Diller also has a burgeoning career in art. Her many one-woman shows in major cities have merited good reviews and brisk sales. Her art is in great demand. The Wichita Eagle described Miss Diller's artistic style as "Expressionistic, with some abstract pieces…reminiscent of Matisse, Modigliani and Picasso."

Among her other accomplishments, Diller is credited with bringing cosmetic surgery out of the closet, changing her private life from pale gray to red hot.

She has been acknowledged and honored by many organizations for her patriotic, philanthropic and humanitarian endeavors, including: the "Minutemen Award" from the U.S. Treasury Department; "Distinguished Service Citation" from the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW; "Humanitarian Award" from AMC Cancer Research Center and "USO Liberty Bell Award." Phyllis Diller is an Ambassador for CHILDHELP USA (Living Legacy Award, 1989).

In addition, she received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award in 1990; the Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy from the American Comedy Awards in 1992; won the Women in Film Lucy Award in 2000; and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for "The Pruitts of Southampton," and briefly served as honorary mayor of Brentwood, California.

Diller retired her groundbreaking stand-up comedy act in Las Vegas in May of 2002. Her final performance is the subject of Gregg Barson's 2004 documentary, GOODNIGHT, WE LOVE YOU.

Of all her accomplishments and accolades, Diller is proudest of her extended family of happily married children and their offspring.

MOVIE CREDITS
Forget About It (2005)
West From North Goes South (2004)
Motocross Kids (2004)
Hip! Edgy! Quirky! (2002)
Last Place On Earth, The (2002)
Everything's Jake (2000)
Debtors, The (1999)
Bug's Life, A (1998) (voice)
Silence of the Hams, The (1995)
Perfect Man, The (1993)
Happily Ever After (1993) (voice)
Boneyard, The (1991)
Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog (1990)
Nutcracker Prince, The (1990) (voice)
Doctor Hackenstein (1988)
Pink Motel (1983)
Pleasure Doing Business, A (1979)
Adding Machine, The (1969)
Silent Treatment (1968)
Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady? (1968)
Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell, The (1968)
Mad Monster Party? (1967) (voice)
Eight on the Lam (1967)
Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966)
Fat Spy, The (1965)
Splendor in the Grass (1961)

TELEVISION SERIES, SPECIALS & VIDEOS
Quintuplets (2005)
The Bold and the Beautiful (1995-2004)
Titus, (2002)
Nuttiest Nutcracker (1999)(voice)
Blossom (1993-1995)
Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990) (voice)
Jonathan Winters: On the Ledge (1987)
Phyllis Diller's 102nd Birthday Party (1974)
The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians (1970) (voice)
The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show (1968)
Phyllis Diller Special (1968)
The Pruitts of Southampton (1966-1967)
Phyllis Diller Special (1963)
Show Street (1965)

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
Ms. Diller has appeared on every prominent TV show of the last two decades including 23 "Bob Hope Specials"
Academy Awards
All Nonsense News Network
Steve Allen Show (20+ shows)
America 2+Night
A.M. Los Angeles
Julie Andrews Show
Annual Rock 'n' Roll Sports Classic
Chuck Barris Rah Rah Hour
Jack Benny Show
Bitter Jester
The Bonkers
Boy Meets World
Carol Burnett Show
Dick Cavett Show
Celebrity Battlestars
Celebrity Bullseye
Cheapskates Guide to the Best of Everything
CHiPs
Christmas at Walt Disney World
Circus of the Stars (4 shows)
Comedy Tonight
Norm Crosby Comedy Shop
Crosswits
Dance Fever
John Davidson Show
Daytime
Do or Diet Show
Phil Donahue Show
Mike Douglas Show
Epcot Magazine
Fantasy
David Frost Show
Jackie Gleason Show
The Gong Show
Good Morning America
Grammy Awards
Merv Griffin Show
Heavenly Bodies
Hollywood Palace
Hollywood Squares
Hollywood Women
The Home Show
Bob Hope Show (23 specials)
Hour Magazine
How Hollywood Stays in Shape
Jack Jones Show
Joys of Aging and How to Avoid Them
Kiss My Act
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Later with Bob Costas
Let Me In I Hear Laughing
David Letterman
Liberace Show
Live with Regis & Kathie Lee
The Love Boat
39 Weeks and Counting
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Madame's Place
Made in Hollywood
Barbara Mandrell Show
Dean Martin Roasts
Dean Martin Show
Match Game
Mindreaders
Minsky's Burlesque
Monte Carlo Show
The Muppets
Jim Nabors Show
Tony Orlando Show
Over Easy
Jack Paar Show
Password +
Regis Philbin Show
The Joan Rivers Show
Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In
The Pat Sajak Show
Salute to Gordon Sinclair
Vidal Sassoon
Dinah Shore Show
Richard Simmons Show
Red Skelton Show
Tom Snyder
Soap World
The Ed Sullivan Show
Take Off
Take One
Tattletales
Toni Tennille Show
Alan Thicke Show
This Is Your Life
Today Show
The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
The Twenty-Four Days of Christmas
Unrehearsed Antics of the Stars
The Bobby Vinton Show
John Wayne Special
Whatever Happened To…
Jonathan Winters Showtime Special
Andy Williams Show
Flip Wilson Show
Wisecracks
Women Who Rate a 10
Young Comedians
Larry King Live
Dennis Miller

BOOKS
Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse - Released February 2005
Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints (Out of Print)
Phyllis Diller's Marriage Manual
The Complete Mother
The Joys of Aging and How to Avoid Them

AUDIO CDs
Live from San Francisco (Live) (Laugh.com)
The Best of Phyllis Diller (Phantom)

RECORDS
Phyllis Diller Laughs (Verve)
Are You Ready for Phyllis Diller? (Verve)
Great Moments of Comedy with Phyllis Diller (Verve)
Born to Sing (Columbia)
Harold Arlen Revisited (Crewe Records)
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