Less than 24 hours after the news of filmmaker Tony Scott’s apparent suicide comes more tragic news from Hollywood: Phyllis Diller has died, following a bad fall and after a general decline in health. According to TMZ, she passed away in her Los Angeles home, with family close by.
The 95-year-old actress and comedian was a pioneer among women in comedy, kicking off her career at the Oakland radio station KROW in 1952 before moving on to a local TV show called “Phyllis Diller, the Homely Friendmaker.” She frequently appeared on TV alongside Bob Hope and on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and starred in both a 1966 sitcom (The Pruitts of Southampton, late retitled The Phyllis Diller Show) and her own variety series, 1968’s The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show. In the past decade or so, Diller had mostly appeared on film in documentaries or as the voice of animated characters, and in guest starring roles on TV. There are many great clips of Diller available online, but we’re partial to the one we’ve posted below, of the comedian singing with Liberace in 1969.