Phyllis Diller (July 17, 1917 – August 20, 2012) was an American actress and comedian. She created a stage persona of a wild-haired, eccentrically dressed housewife who makes self-deprecating jokes about her age and appearance, her terrible cooking, and a husband named "Fang", while pretending to smoke from a long cigarette holder. Diller's signature was her unusual laugh.
“She was a true pioneer,” Diller’s longtime agent Fred Wostbrock told EW. “She was the first lady of stand up comedy. She paved the way for everybody. And she conquered television, movies, Broadway, record albums, nightclubs, books, and radio. She did it all. A true pioneer.”
During her long career, Diller was in more than two dozen movies, including three with Bob Hope, with whom she also appeared on numerous TV specials and traveled with to Vietnam to entertain U.S. troops.
In 2005, she published Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse, an autobiography that revealed the unlikely and traumatic road that led her to superstardom.
In a time when word "legend" is thrown around like toilet paper at a pep rally, the term is not wasted on her. She was a true pioneer and the first lady of stand-up comedy.
Diller died suddenly, on August 20, 2012, of unknown causes at the age of 95, in her home, surrounded by family and friends. The exact cause of her death came under investigation, and an autopsy and toxicology tests were scheduled. However, the results were not expected to be available for at least 4 weeks.