Comedienne Phyllis Diller dies at 95

Legendary and outlandish comedienne, Phyllis Diller died Monday morning at her residence in Los Angeles. The 95-year-old passed away in her sleep.  She was most recognized for her contagious cackle and outlandish attire and hairstyles.  One of Diller’s greatest achievements was breaking the barrier of women in standup in the early fifties.

She was known as “the first female to joke like a man.”   In order to be respected in a predominantly masculine profession, Diller felt she had to use self-deprecating jokes and a crazy appearance to ease the tension of it all.

“The reason I devel­oped things like [wearing a bag dress] was because I had such a great figure … I had ’em convinced that underneath whatever I was wearing, I was a skeleton, an ugly skeleton — and that’s what I wanted.”

Diller’s quick wit and willingness to degrade herself for the good of a joke, inspired comedians of this generation such as Joan Rivers and Ellen Degeneres.

Diller suffered an almost fatal heart attack in 1999, and was thus forced to retire from her passion of standup comedy.  In the forthcoming years, Diller’s work in voice animations became very frequent.  She is most noted for her work in animations such as Family Guy, Hey Arnold, and A Bug’s Life.

Diller is survived by her two children, four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. Plans for services are still pending.

Diller was once quoted as saying, “All I worked for was the laughs.”  It is clear through the outstanding cries of support in Hollywood, and her lingering jokes that will remain legendary, that her wish to work for the laughs was indeed achieved.