Phyllis Diller, an actress and comedian best known for her stand-up comedy act, isdead at age 95. TMZ reports that the comedian passed away at her Los Angeles home at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the company of her family.
Diller’s agent Fred Wostbrock confirmed the news to NBC, telling its news website, “It is a great loss today… She was a true pioneer and the first lady of stand-up. She paved the way for Chelsea Handler, Roseanne Barr, Joan Rivers and Ellen DeGeneres. She was the best. The first female stand-up to play Vegas. She was on Broadway, she made movies, she did it all.”
“She died peacefully in her sleep with a smile on her face,” manager Milton Suchin also told the Associated Press.
Diller, who was born in 1917 in Ohio, witnessed revolutionary change for female comedians in the latter half of the 20th century. Her close relationship with the comedian Bob Hope spurred nearly two dozen co-starring television specials during the 1960s. Diller would also go on to star in two eponymous television series for network television: “The Phyllis Diller Show,” from 1966 to 1967, and “The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show,” one year later.
Diller is survived by three children, Sally, Suzanne and Perry, from her first marriage to Sherwood Anderson Diller. She remarried actor Warde Donovan in 1965 and divorced him in 1974.