Phyliss Diller was really funny. Watch any video on this profile and that is obvious. She had talent. But what strikes me most about her is that she really didn't start out her career until her late 30's. Before that, she raised her kids and did assorted jobs. Her husband encouraged her to try comedy when they needed money and you could make big money as a talented comedian.
This was not unheard of. Jackie Mason was a rabbi before he gave that up in mid life to try comedy. Roseanne Barr was a housewife who didn't really perform until her late 30s.
So, follow your dreams, and never give up. It's not too late and talent always wins out.
Basic Facts of life
Phyliss Ada Driver was born July 17, 1917 in Lima, Ohio.
- She was a housewife, mother and advertising copywriter.
- During World War 2 she lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan and her husband worked at the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant. He encouraged her to try stand up comedy
- She studied the piano for many years but later decided against a career in music after hearing her teachers and mentors play with much more ability than she thought she would be able to achieve.
- She still plays piano in her private life
- She has candidly discussed her plastic surgery, a series of procedures first undertaken when she was 55.
- Although known for decades for smoking from long cigarette holders in her comedy act Diller is a lifelong nonsmoker. The cigarette holders were stage props that she had specially constructed.
- spent much of her private time painting, cooking and gardening
- Stand Up Comedy
- First appeared as a stand-up comic at The Purple Onion in 1955 and played there for 87 straight weeks
- many appearances on the big talk shows like Johnny Carson over the years
- - performed with Bob Hope in Vietnam in 1966 with his USO troupe during the height of the Vietnam War.
- TV SHOW APPEARANCES
Diller's fame was expanded when she co-starred with Bob Hope in 23 television specials
made regular cameo appearances making her trademark wisecracks on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.
starred in two short-lived TV series: the half-hour sitcom The Pruitts of Southampton on ABC from 1966–1967, and the variety show The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show on NBC in 1968.
she also hosted an episode of The Hollywood Palace
- Diller made a guest appearance on What's My Line. Sammy Davis Jr. is one of the panelists
Made three films in the 1960s with Bob Hope: Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, Eight on the Lam, and The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell. Although only Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! performed well at the box office
The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell.
She appeared as the wisecracking nightclub hostess in the 1961 film Splendor in the Grass.
She also appeared in more than a dozen, usually low-budget, movies, including voice work as The Monster's Mate in the Rankin/Bass animated film Mad Monster Party (1967), co-starring Boris Karloff.
A listing of all films she has been in.
- Splendor in the Grass (1961)
- The Fat Spy (1966)
- Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966)
- Eight on the Lam (1967)
- Silent Treatment (1968) (unfinished)
- The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell (1968)
- Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady? (1968)
- Mad Monster Party (1967) (voice)
- The Adding Machine (1969)
- The Sunshine Boys (1975)
- A Pleasure Doing Business (1979)
- Pink Motel (1982)
- Doctor Hackenstein (1988)
- Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog (1990)
- The Nutcracker Prince (1990) (voice)
- The Boneyard (1991)
- Wisecracks (1992) (documentary)
- The Perfect Man (1993)
- Happily Ever After (1993) (voice)
- The Silence of the Hams (1994)
- A Bug's Life (1998) (voice)