I’ll never forget her cackle, her arched and plucked eyebrows, her crazy hair, her jokes about her husband Fang. Phyllis Diller died yesterday at age 95. The saying “Leave them laughing” appears to apply — according to CNN, Ms. Diller died with a “smile on her face.”
These two Phyllis Diller jokes left a smile on my face:
“Burt Reynolds once asked me out. I was in his room.”
“I have a tremendous sex drive. My boyfriend lives in 40 miles away.”
Phyllis Diller, in my mind, will always be associated with a group of comedians who appeared regularly on the “Ed Sullivan Show” — Jackie Mason, Alan King, Stiller and Meara, Rodney Dangerfield, Henny Youngman, Joan Rivers….the Sardi’s/Catskills/Friars Club crowd. In a related vein, Phyllis Diller was a real trailblazer, one of a only handful of women from that era who managed to succeeded in the male-dominated world of stand-up comedy.
Here Phyllis Diller on the Sullivan show, circa 1969: