A pioneer in the field of comedy, Phyllis Diller passed away on 20 August 2012 at the age of 95. Renowned for her impeccable timing, garish wardrobe, and machine-gun-crossed-with-a-hyena laugh, Diller began her career as a stand up comic at the age of 37. Many of Diller’s self-deprecating routines revolved around her horrible cooking, five children, and a fictitious husband known only as “Fang”. (Her real life husband of 26 years, Sherwood Diller, served as her manager until they divorced in 1965.)
Before she conquered comedy, Phyllis Diller was a housewife, an advertising copywriter, and an accomplished pianist. She left copywriting behind after her husband encouraged her to pursue comedy. She began performing shortly thereafter. In 1956, she received her big break, making a splash at San Francisco’s Purple Onion nightclub.