Diller on February 25, 2007
Phyllis Ada Driver
July 17, 1917
Lima, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||August 20, 2012 (aged 95)|
|Alma mater||Bluffton College|
Sherwood Anderson Diller
(m. 1939; div. 1965)
Warde Donovan Tatum
(m. 1965; div. 1975)
|Partner(s)||Robert P. Hastings (c. 1985–96; his death)|
|Medium||Stand-up, film, television, books|
|Genres||Insult comedy, observational comedy, musical comedy, improvisational comedy|
|Subject(s)||American culture, racism, self-deprecation, everyday life, religion, current events|
Phyllis Ada Driver (July 17, 1917 – August 20, 2012), better known as Phyllis Diller, was an American actress and stand-up comedian, best known for her eccentric stage persona, her self-deprecating humor, her wild hair and clothes, and her exaggerated, cackling laugh.
Diller was a groundbreaking stand-up comic—one of the first female comics to become a household name in the U.S. She paved the way for Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, and Ellen DeGeneres, among others, who credit her influence. Diller had a large gay following and is considered a gay icon. She was also one of the first celebrities to openly champion plastic surgery, for which she was recognized by the industry.
Diller worked in more than 40 films, beginning with 1961's Splendor in the Grass. She appeared in many television series, often in cameos, but also including her own short-lived sitcom and variety show. Some of her credits are Night Gallery, The Muppet Show, The Love Boat, Cybill, and Boston Legal, plus eleven seasons of The Bold and the Beautiful. Her voice-acting roles included the monster's wife in Mad Monster Party, the Queen in A Bug's Life, Granny Neutron in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and Thelma Griffin in Family Guy.
Diller was born Phyllis Ada Driver in Lima, Ohio on July 17, 1917, the only child of Perry Marcus Driver (1862–1948), an insurance agent, and Frances Ada (née Romshe; 1881–1949). She had German and Irish ancestry (the surname "Driver" had been changed from "Treiber" several generations earlier). She was raised Methodist but later became an atheist. Her parents were older than most when she was born (55 and 36, respectively) and Diller attended several funerals while growing up. The exposure to death at a young age led her to an early appreciation for life and she later realized that her comedy was a form of therapy.
She attended Lima's Central High School and discovered she had the gift of humor early on. Although she wasn't a class clown, calling herself a "quiet and dedicated" student, she enjoyed making people laugh once school was out. Diller studied piano for three years at the Sherwood Music Conservatory of Columbia College Chicago but decided against a music career and transferred to Bluffton College where she studied literature, history, psychology, and philosophy. She met Sherwood Diller at Bluffton and they married in 1939. Diller didn't finish school and was primarily a housewife, taking care of their five children (a sixth child died in infancy).
After moving to Alameda, California, Diller began working in broadcasting in 1952 at KROW radio in Oakland, California. In November of that year, she filmed several fifteen-minute segments for the Bay Area television series Phyllis Dillis, the Homely Friendmaker—dressed in a housecoat to offer absurd "advice" to homemakers. Diller also worked as a copywriter at KSFO radio in San Francisco and a vocalist for a music-review TV show called Pop Club, hosted by Don Sherwood.
With the encouragement of her husband, Diller made her debut as a stand-up comedian at age 37 in the basement of the San Francisco North Beach club, The Purple Onion, on March 7, 1955. Up until then, she had only tried out her jokes for fellow PTA moms at nearby Edison Elementary School. Her first professional show was a success and the two-week booking stretched out to 89 consecutive weeks. Diller had found her calling and eventual financial success while her husband's business career failed. She explained, "I became a stand-up comedienne because I had a sit-down husband."
In a 1986 NPR interview, Diller said she had no idea what she was doing when she started playing clubs and in the beginning she never saw another woman on the comedy circuit. With no female role models in a male-dominated industry, she initially used props and drew from her educational and work background as a basis for satire, spoofing classical music concerts and advice columns. She wrote her own material and kept a file cabinet full of her gags, honing her nightclub act. Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, and Jonathan Winters were early influences, but Diller developed a singular comedic persona — a surreal version of femininity. This absurd caricature with garish baggy dresses and gigantic, clownish hair made fun of her lack of sex appeal while brandishing a cigarette holder (with a wooden cigarette because she didn't smoke), punctuating the humor with a hearty cackle to show she was in on the joke. At the time, Diller said, "They had no idea what I was. It was like—'Get a stick and kill it before it multiplies!'"
Her first national television appearance was as a contestant on Groucho Marx's quiz show You Bet Your Life in 1958. Multiple bookings on the Jack Paar Tonight Show led to an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which brought her national prominence as she continued to perform stand-up throughout the U.S.
Starting in 1959 and throughout the 1960s, she released multiple comedy albums, including the titles Wet Toe in a Hot Socket!, Are You Ready for Phyllis Diller?, and The Beautiful Phyllis Diller.
In the early '60s, Diller performed at the Bon Soir in Greenwich Village, where an up-and-coming Barbra Streisand was her opening act. She was offered film work and became famous after co-starring with her mentor Bob Hope, who described her as "a Warhol mobile of spare parts picked up along a freeway." They worked together in films such as Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, Eight on the Lam, and The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell, all critically panned, but Boy... did well at the box office. Diller accompanied Hope to Vietnam in 1966 with his USO troupe during the height of the Vietnam War.
She appeared regularly as a special guest on many television programs, including What's My Line? Mystery Guests. The blindfolded panel on that evening's broadcast included Sammy Davis, Jr., and they were able to discern Diller's identity in three guesses. Diller made regular cameo appearances, making her trademark wisecracks on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. Self-deprecating to a fault, a typical Diller joke had her running after a garbage truck pulling away from her curb. "Am I too late for the trash?" she'd yell. The driver's reply: "No, jump right in!" She became a semi-regular on The Hollywood Squares, starting in 1967, appearing in 28 episodes until 1980.
Diller continued to work in film, making an appearance as Texas Guinan, the wisecracking nightclub hostess in Splendor in the Grass. Throughout the 1960s, she appeared in more than a dozen, usually low-budget, films. She also began a career in voice work, providing the voice of the Monster's Mate in Mad Monster Party (1967).
Diller also starred in the short-lived TV series The Pruitts of Southampton (1966–1967); later retitled The Phyllis Diller Show, a half-hour sitcom on ABC. She received a Golden Globe nomination in 1967 for her role in Pruitts. Diller hosted a variety show in 1968 titled The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show.
Beginning December 26, 1969, she had a three-month run in Hello, Dolly! (opposite Richard Deacon), as the second to last in a succession of replacements for Carol Channing in the title role, which included Ginger Rogers, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, and Pearl Bailey. After Diller's stint, Ethel Merman took over the role until the end of the series' run in December 1970.
Diller continued working in television throughout the '70s and '80s, appearing as a judge on premiere and subsequent episodes of The Gong Show and as a panelist on the Match Game PM show. She also guest-starred in Night Gallery, Love American Style, The Muppet Show and The Love Boat. Between 1999 and 2003 she played roles in 7th Heaven and The Drew Carey Show.
Her successful career as a voice actor continued when Diller guested as herself in "A Good Medium is Rare," a 1972 episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. In 1998, Diller provided the voice of the Queen in A Bug's Life. Among her other animated films are The Nutcracker Prince (1990, as Mousequeen), Happily Ever After (1990, as Mother Nature), and Casper's Scare School (2006, as Aunt Spitzy).
She voiced characters in several television series, including Robot Chicken, Family Guy, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, Captain Planet, Cow and Chicken, Hey Arnold! as Arnold's grandpa's sister Mitzi, The Powerpuff Girls, Animaniacs, Jimmy Neutron as Jimmy's grandmother, The Wild Thornberrys, and King of the Hill. She also played Peter Griffin's mother, Thelma, on Family Guy in 2006.
Citing advanced age and a lack of "lasting energy," Diller retired from stand-up in 2002. Her final performance was at the Suncoast that year in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the time she stated, "If you can't dance to comedy, forget it. It's music." The 2004 documentary Goodnight, We Love You: The Life and Legend of Phyllis Diller, directed by Gregg Barson, was shot on the night of her last performance. It follows Diller to a press conference, backstage, and into her home, to cover the story of her career. Rip Taylor, Don Rickles, Roseanne Barr, Red Buttons, Jo Anne Worley and Lily Tomlin are featured, discussing Diller's comedy legacy.
Although retired from the stand-up circuit, Diller never fully left the entertainment industry. In 2005, she was featured as one of many contemporary comics in The Aristocrats. Diller, who avoided blue comedy, did a version of an old, risqué vaudeville routine, in which she describes herself passing out when she first heard the joke, forgetting the actual content of the joke.
On January 24, 2007, Diller appeared on The Tonight Show and performed stand-up before chatting with Jay Leno. Leno has stated that Diller would infrequently call him to contribute jokes during his time as the host of The Tonight Show. The same year she had a cameo appearance portraying herself in an episode of Boston Legal. In 2011, she appeared in an episode of her friend Roseanne Barr's reality show Roseanne's Nuts.
Publishing her first best seller in 1966 and releasing more throughout the decade, Diller's books on domestic life featured her self-deprecating humor. The titles include Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints, Phyllis Diller's Marriage Manual, and The Complete Mother. In 1981 she published The Joys of Aging & How to Avoid Them.
Her autobiography, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse – My Life in Comedy, co-written with Richard Buskin, was published in 2006. In it Diller told of an unhappy childhood with undemonstrative, emotionally withholding parents, and an equally unhappy first marriage. From these beginnings, her performing style—telling rapid-fire jokes—emerged, which she compared to music: "One joke followed the other with a flow and a rhythm. ... Everything had a natural feel to it."
In the early 1990s, Diller had many short, humorous pieces published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
Diller had studied the piano for many years and was an accomplished player but decided against a career in music after hearing her teachers and mentors play with much more skill than she thought that she would be able to achieve. She still played in her private life, however, and owned a custom-made harpsichord.
Between 1971 and 1981, Diller appeared as a piano soloist with symphony orchestras across the country under the stage name Dame Illya Dillya. Her performances were spiced with humor, but she took the music seriously. A review of one of her concerts in The San Francisco Examiner called her "a fine concert pianist with a firm touch."
Diller, a self-taught artist, began painting in 1963. She worked in acrylics, watercolors, and oils throughout the 1970s and filled her Brentwood, California home with her portraits and still lifes. In 2003, at age 86, she held the first of several "art parties," selling her artwork along with her stage clothes and costume jewelry.
Diller credited much of her success to a motivational book, The Magic of Believing (1948) by Claude M. Bristol, which gave her confidence at the start of her career.
Diller was married and divorced twice. She had six children from her marriage with her first husband, Sherwood Anderson Diller. Peter was the first, born in 1940. Sally was next, born in 1944. Their third child, Perry, was born in 1945 but only lived for two weeks in a neonatal incubator. A daughter, Suzanne, was born in 1946, followed by another daughter, Stephanie, in 1948. Their sixth child, also named Perry, after Diller's father, was born in 1950. Sally was diagnosed with schizophrenia and Diller worked hard to care for her at home, but Sally was eventually institutionalized. Diller outlived two of her grown children. Peter died of cancer in 1998. Stephanie died in 2002 of a stroke.
Diller's second husband was actor Warde Donovan (born Warde Tatum), whom she married on October 7, 1965. She filed for divorce three months later, having found him to be bisexual and alcoholic, though they reconciled on the day before the divorce was to have become final. Their marriage continued until she divorced Donovan in 1975.
The character of "Fang," the husband that Diller frequently mentioned in her act, sprang from an ad-lib at a Purple Onion show. She kept him in the act, realizing "I was on to something because this idiot that I portray on stage has to have a husband, and he's got to be even more idiotic than I."
Diller portrayed herself as a horrible cook in her stand-up routines. In real life, she was reputed to be an excellent cook, and in the late 1980s, a recipe she had devised for chili was licensed and canned; "Phyllis Diller Chili" would be sold in supermarkets across the United States.
She candidly discussed her plastic surgery, a series of procedures first undertaken when she was 55. In her 2005 autobiography, she wrote that she had undergone "fifteen different procedures." Her numerous surgeries were the subject of a 20/20 segment February 12, 1993.
Illness and death
By 1997, as she passed her 80th birthday, Diller began to suffer from various ailments. In 1999 her heart stopped during a hospital stay. She was fitted with a pacemaker but had a bad drug reaction and became paralyzed. Through physical therapy, she was able to walk again. Approaching the age of 90, Diller retired from stand-up comedy appearances.
On July 11, 2007, USA Today reported that she had fractured her back and had to cancel an appearance on The Tonight Show, during which she had planned to celebrate her 90th birthday. On May 15, 2012, Diller conducted her final interview accepting the “Lifetime Achievement” award from her hometown, Lima, OH as part of a panel of comedians.
On the morning of August 20, 2012, Diller died in her Brentwood, Los Angeles, California home, of natural causes at age 95. According to her family, she died with a "smile on her face." She was cremated, and her ashes were scattered at sea.
Influence and legacy
Diller was one of the first solo female comedians in the U.S. to become a household name. She stated that making people laugh is a powerful art form. As a pioneering woman in the stand-up field, she inspired many female comedians including Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, Ellen DeGeneres, Margaret Cho and Roseanne Barr.
Barr, who listened to Diller's records as a child, called her a true artist and revolutionary, saying, "It was timeless, that wacky, tacky character she created; the cigarette holder was genius, paradoxically regal. She was a victorious loser hero, the female iteration of Chaplin's Little Tramp."
Fellow comic Joan Rivers paid tribute to Diller's early-career woman's point-of-view, saying, "She was the first one that there was such rage and such anger in her comedy. She had the anger that is now in all of us. And that's what made it so funny because she spoke for all these women that were sitting home with five children and a husband that didn't work."
Diller had a large gay following from the beginning of her career, once saying, "My first audience were gay people because they have a great sense of humor." An obituary in Queerty noted her popularity with the LGBT community, calling her a "strong-willed entertainer who challenged the status quo regarding gender and sexuality." She enjoyed the company of gay men, writing in her memoir, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy: "Gay men have the most wonderful sense of humor. And they are willing to laugh. They appeal to me and I appeal to them."
A New York Times remembrance noted that Diller's flamboyant look is echoed in Lady Gaga concert attire and that Eddie Murphy also punctuated jokes with a loud laugh, in a style reminiscent of Diller's persona.
Diller was an outspoken proponent of plastic surgery at a time when cosmetic procedures were secretive. Her public admission to having several facelifts, nose jobs and other procedures added promotional and comedic value to her act. She told Bob Hope in 1971 that she had had a facelift because "I got sick and tired of having the dog drag me out to the yard and bury me." The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery gave her an award for bringing plastic surgery "out of the closet."
In 2003, after hearing of the donation of Archie Bunker's chair to the Smithsonian Institution, Diller opened her doors to the National Museum of American History. She offered them some of her most iconic costume pieces, as well as her gag file, a steel cabinet with 48 file drawers with more than 50,000 jokes she had written on index cards during her career. In 2011, the Albert H. Small Documents Gallery at the National Museum of American History displayed Diller's file and some of the objects that became synonymous with her comedic persona—an unkempt wig, wrist-length gloves, cloth-covered ankle boots, and a bejeweled cigarette holder.
Awards and honors
- Golden Apple Award for Most Cooperative Actress – 1966.
- Laurel Award for Female New Face 11th place. – 1967.
- Golden Globe nomination for Actress in a Television Series – The Pruitts of Southampton – 1967.
- Awarded Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Television – January 15, 1975.
- Women's International Center Living Legacy Award – 1990.
- American Comedy Award for Lifetime Achievement – 1992.
- Diller lived in St. Louis with her family from 1961 to 1965 and was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 1993.
- Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Service Show Host – A Tribute to Bob Hope – 1998.
- Women in Film Lucy Award, recognizing her achievements in enhancing the perception of women through the medium of television – 2000.
- San Diego Film Festival Governor's Award – 2004.
- Lifetime Achievement Award from hometown Lima, Ohio – 2012.
- Diller's July 17 birthday is officially "Phyllis Diller Day" in Alameda, California, where she got her start in radio and television.
|1961||Splendor in the Grass||Texas Guinan||film debut|
|1966||The Fat Spy||Camille Salamander|
|1966||Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!||Lily|
|1967||Mad Monster Party?||The Monster's Mate (voice role)|
|1967||Eight on the Lam||Golda|
|1968||The Private Navy of Sergeant O'Farrell||Nurse Nellie Krause|
|1968||Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady?||Agatha Knabenshu|
|1969||The Adding Machine||Mrs. Zero|
|1969||The Good Guys||Lilli Resphighi||Episode: "No Orchids for the Diner"|
|1975||The Sunshine Boys||Performer on Fictional Television Program||uncredited|
|1977||The Great Balloon Race||unknown role|
|1979||A Pleasure Doing Business||Mrs. Wildebeest|
|1988||Doctor Hackenstein||Mrs. Trilling|
|1989||Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog||Mrs. Frasco|
|1990||Happily Ever After||Mother Nature (voice role)|
|1990||The Nutcracker||Mousequeen (voice role)|
|1991||The Boneyard||Miss Poopinplatz|
|1993||The Perfect Man||Mother|
|1994||The Silence of the Hams||Old Secretary|
|1997||Peoria Babylon||Painting Owner|
|1998||A Bug's Life||Queen (voice role)|
|1999||The Debtors||unknown role|
|1999||The Nuttiest Nutcracker||Sugar Plum Fairy (voice role)||Direct-to-Video|
|2002||The Last Place on Earth||Mrs. Baskin|
|2002||Hip! Edgy! Quirky!||Mrs. Higgenbothen|
|2004||West from North Goes South||The Cashier|
|2006||Everything's Jake||Victoria Pond|
|2006||Unbeatable Harold||Mrs. Clancy|
|2006||Forget About It||Mrs. Hertzberg|
|2008||Light of Olympia||Pelops (voice role)|
|2009||The Hipsters||unknown role|
|2009||Family Dinner||Grandma Liz O'Connell||Short film; uncredited|
|1958||You Bet Your Life||Herself (Nightclub Performer)||Episode: "#8.19"|
|1961-1970||The Ed Sullivan Show||Herself (Guest)||recurring role; 6 episodes|
|1963-1964||What's My Line?||Herself (Mystery Guest)||2 episodes|
|1964-1967||I've Got a Secret||Herself (Guest/Panelist)||4 episodes|
|1964-1967||The Match Game||Herself (Team Captain)||recurring role; 20 episodes|
|1964-1971||The Bob Hope Show||Herself (Guest)||recurring role; 10 episodes|
|1965-1971||The Andy Williams Show||Herself (Guest)||5 episodes|
|1965-1974||The Dean Martin Show||Herself (Guest)||recurring role; 8 episodes|
|1966||Batman||Scrubwoman||Episode: "The Minstrel's Shakedown"|
|1966||The Red Skelton Hour||Clara Appleby||Episode: "Love at First Fright"|
|1966-1967||The Phyllis Diller Show||Phyllisa Pruitt||series regular; 30 episodes|
|1966-1969||The Hollywood Palace||Herself (Host)||recurring role; 6 episodes|
|1967||The Carol Burnett Show||Herself (Guest)||Episode: "#1.6"|
|1967-1980||The Hollywood Squares||Herself (Panelist)||recurring role; 28 episodes|
|1968||The Red Skelton Hour||Greta Gargoyle||Episode: "Dial M for Moron"|
|1968||It Takes Two||Herself||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1968||The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show||Herself (Host)||4 episodes|
|1968-1973||Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In||Herself (guest)||recurring role; 6 episodes|
|1969||The Red Skelton Hour||Bobo Van Beacon||Episode: "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep, Unless You're a Banana"|
|1969||That's Life||unknown role||Episode: "Chalk Can Be Sexy"|
|1969||Love, American Style||Daphanie Daniels||Episode: "Love and the Phonies"|
|1969||The Liberace Show||Herself (Guest)||Episode: "#5.23.1969"|
|1969||Get Smart||Maxwell Smart||Episode: "Pheasant Under Glass" (uncredited)|
|1969||The Good Guys||Lilli Resphighi||Episode: "No Orchids for the Diner"|
|1970||Swing Out, Sweet Land||Belva A. Lockwood||Television Movie|
|1970||The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians||Herself (voice role)||Television Movie|
|1971||Night Gallery||Pamela (voice role)||Episode: "Pamela's Voice"|
|1971||Love, American Style||Bella||Episode: "Love and the Heist"|
|1971||Love, American Style||Edna||Episode: "Love and the Vacation"|
|1971||The Reel Game||Herself (Celebrity Guest)||Episode: "#1.18.1971"|
|1971||The Red Skelton Hour||Herself (Killer Diller)||Episode: "Sheriff Hater"|
|1971||The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour||Herself (Guest)||Episode: "#1.5"|
|1972||The New Scooby-Doo Movies||Herself (voice role)||Episode: "A Good Medium Is Rare"|
|1973||Wait Till Your Father Gets Home||Detective Phyllis Diller (voice role)||Episode: "The Lady Detective"|
|1973||Love, American Style||Sally Walker||Episode: "Love and the Comedienne"|
|1973||The Bobby Darin Show||Herself (Guest)||Episode: "#1.10"|
|1974||Tattletales||Herself||recurring role; 11 episodes|
|1974||Celebrity Roast||Herself||Episode: "Bob Hope/Telly Savalas"|
|1975||Uncle Croc's Block||Witchy Goo-Goo||series regular; 16 episodes|
|1975||Celebrity Roast||Herself||Episode: "Lucille Ball/Jackie Gleason/Sammy Davis Jr./Michael Landon/Valerie Harper"|
|1976||The Gong Show||Herself (Guest Judge)||Episode: "Phyllis Diller"|
|1976||The Muppet Show||Herself (Special Guest Star)||Episode: "Phyllis Diller"|
|1977||The Bobby Vinton Show||Herself (Guest)||2 episodes|
|1978||Comedy Roast||Herself||Episode: "Jack Klugman/George Burns/Betty White"|
|1979||The Love Boat||Viola Penny||Episode: "The Scoop/The Audit Couple/My Boyfriend's Back"|
|1980||Password Plus||Herself (Celebrity Contestant)||2 episodes|
|1982||The Love Boat||Martha Morse||Episode: "The Anniversary Gift/Honey Bee Mine/Bewigged, Bothered and Bewildered"|
|1983||All-Star Family Feud Special||Herself (Celebrity Contestant)||Episode: "Richard's Rosebuds vs. Phyllis Fighters"|
|1984||As the World Turns||Fairy Godmother||Episode: "Cinderella Concert"|
|1984||Comedy Roast||Herself||Episode: "Joan Collins"|
|1984-1985||Body Language||Herself (Panelist)||recurring role; 15 episodes|
|1985||The Jeffersons||Herself||Episode: "You'll Never Get Rich"|
|1985||Tales from the Darkside||Nora Mills||Episode: "The Trouble with Mary Jane"|
|1985||Glitter||unknown role||Episode: "Rock 'n' Roll Heaven"|
|1987||Jonathan Winters: On the Ledge||Jonathan's Mother||Television Movie|
|1987||Alice Through the Looking Glass||The White Queen (voice role)||Television Movie|
|1987-1989||Super Password||Herself (Celebrity Contestant)||recurring role; 25 episodes|
|1988||Full House||Herself||Episode: "But Seriously Folks"|
|1988||Night Heat||Mrs. Malik||Episode: "Better Part of Valor"|
|1989||Family Feud||Herself (Contestant)||Episode: "The Funny Men vs.the Funny Women"|
|1990||227||Louanne Costello||Episode: "The Class of '90"|
|1991||Captain Planet and the Planeteers||Dr. Jane Goodair (voice role)||Episode: "Smog Hog"|
|1992||Carol: Leifer: Gaudy, Bawdy & Blue||Herself||Television Movie|
|1993||Dream On||Mrs. Barish||Episode: "Oral Sex, Lies and Videotape"|
|1993-1994||Blossom||Mrs. Peterson/Herself||recurring role; 4 episodes|
|1994||Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle||unknown role||Episode: "The Never-Want-To-Go-To-Bedders Cure"|
|1994||Boy Meets World||Madame Ouspenkaya||Episode: "Who's Afraid of Cory Wolf?"|
|1996||Cybill||Herself (uncredited)||Episode: "Romancing the Crone"|
|1996-2012||The Bold and the Beautiful||Gladys Pope||recurring role; 18 episodes|
|1998||Animaniacs||Suzy Squirrel (voice role)||Episode: "The Carpool/The Sunshine Squirrels"|
|1998||Diagnosis Murder||Herself||Episode: "Talked to Death"|
|1998-1999||Emily of New Moon||Great Aunt Nancy Priest||2 episodes|
|1999||King of the Hill||Lillian (voice role)||Episode: "Escape from Party Island"|
|1999||Cow and Chicken||Red's Mom/Cop (voice role)||Episode: "Professor Longhorn Steer/I.M. Weasel: He Said,He Said/A Couple of Skating Fools"|
|1999||I Am Weasel||Red's Mother (voice role)||Episode: "I Am Artiste"|
|1999||The Wild Thornberrys||Samantha (voice role)||Episode: "Two's Company"|
|1999||Hey Arnold!||Mitzi (voice role)||Episode: "Grandpa's Sister"|
|1999||7th Heaven||Mabel||Episode: "Nobody Knows"|
|2000||Hollywood Off-Ramp||unknown role||Episode: "Unfunny Girl"|
|2001||Arli$$||Herself||Episode: "As Others See Us"|
|2001||Kiss My Act||Herself||Television Movie|
|2001||The Test||Herself (Panelist)||Episode: "The Cajones Test"|
|2001-2002||Titus||Grandma Titus||2 episodes|
|2002||The Drew Carey Show||Bebe||Episode: "Look Mom, One Hand!"|
|2002||Even Stevens||Coach Korns||Episode: "Snow Job"|
|2002-2003||7th Heaven||Gabrielle||2 episodes|
|2002-2004||The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron||Grandma Neutron (voice role)||2 episodes|
|2002-2004||Hollywood Squares||Herself (Panelist)||recurring role; 30 episodes|
|2003||Life with Bonnie||Phyllis Frost||Episode: "It's a Wonderful Job"|
|2003||Star Dates||Herself||Episode: "Phyllis Diller"|
|2004||The Powerpuff Girls||Mask Scara (voice role)||Episode: "A Made Up Story"|
|2005||Quintuplets||Aunt Sylvia||Episode: "Chutes and Letters"|
|2005||Robot Chicken||Herself/Various (voice role)||recurring role; 3 episodes|
|2006||Casper's Scare School||Aunt Spitzy (voice role)||Television Movie|
|2006||Robot Chicken||Herself/Various (voice role)||Episode: "Easter Basket"|
|2006-2007||Family Guy||Thelma Griffin (voice role)||3 episodes|
|2007||Boston Legal||Herself||Episode: "Brotherly Love"|
- Robert P. Hastings – Obituary – Los Angeles, CA – Tributes.com
- Phyllis Diller Dies; Groundbreaking Comedian Is Dead at 95, People, Stephen M. Silverman, August 20, 2012, retrieved November 4, 2015
- "Comedy Legend Phyllis Diller Dead at 95," Queerty, August 20, 2012. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Phyllis Diller Comedienne & Humanitarian, Women's International Center. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Keepnews, Peter (August 20, 2012). "Phyllis Diller, Sassy Doyenne of Rapid-Fire Comedy, Dies at 95". The New York Times.
- The censuses from 1920 and 1930 state that the Driver family lived on West Mark Street, in Lima
- "Genealogy of Phyllis Diller, by Rhonda R. McClure, hosted at www.genealogy.com". Archived from the original on January 4, 2010. Retrieved August 23, 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Roseanne Barr: 'Phyllis Diller was a genius'". Hollywood.com. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012. Barr admits Diller never believed in God and she often joked about heaven.
- Nachman, Gerald (2003). Seriously Funny The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s. New York, NY: Pantheon Books. p. 219. ISBN 9780375410307. OCLC 50339527.
- Zinoman, Jason. "Phyllis Diller and Her Comic Craft," The New York Times, August 22, 2012. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- "The Phyllis Diller Gag File," Smithsonian Institution – Albert H. Hall Documents Gallery. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- "Phyllis Diller to receive Lifetime Award from her hometown". Cleveland 19 News. May 15, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
- Ellis, Kate. "Lima's Funniest Lady: Phyllis Diller still remembered as one funny local," Archived July 10, 2015, at the Wayback Machine The 419, Ohio, July 13, 2015. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
- The Dailey Review, Hayward, California November 19, 1952.
- Stern, Jane and Michael. "'Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse': Desperate Housewife," New York Times Sunday Book Review, March 13, 2005. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Video on YouTube
- The Alameda Times Star, California April 23, 1955
- Levaux, Janet. "Alameda: Fans organize Phyllis Diller Day on Island," Contra Costa Times, July 16, 2014. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Horowitz, Susan (1997). "Queens of Comedy: Lucille Ball, Phyllis Diller, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, and the New Generation of Funny Women," pp. 46, 48. Gordon and Breach Publishers, The Netherlands. ISBN 2884492437.
- Fresh Air Remembers Comedian Phyllis Diller, 1986 interview with Terry Gross, NPR, August 21, 2012. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Weatherford, Mike. "Phyllis Diller dies at 95 in Los Angeles; final performance was in 2002 at Suncoast," Las Vegas Review-Journal, August 20, 2012. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- on YouTube
- Phyllis Diller Records and CDs MusicStack.com
- Coveney, Michael. "Phyllis Diller Obiturary," The Guardian August 21, 2012. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Third Marine Division's Two Score and Ten History. Paducah, Ky.: Turner. 1992. p. 13. ISBN 978-1563110894.
- Pioneers of Television – Phyllis Diller, PBS. Retrieved on November 15, 2015.
- Golden Globe Awards
- Orenstein, Bernie, (interview). Posted 2016. "The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show," Archive of American Television, emmytvlegends.org. Retrieved on March 1, 2017.
- Hello, Dolly! replacement cast members at IBDB Archived October 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- Diller, Phyllis; Buskin, Richard (2005). Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy. New York: Penguin Group. pp. 53–69, 204–207, 210–211, 213, 224, 233, 258. ISBN 1-58542-396-3.
- Ethel Merman credits at IBDB
- Diller, Phyllis (posted June 25, 2012). "Phyllis Diller on being a celebrity judge on The Gong Show," Archive of American Television. Retrieved on March 1, 2017.
- Sullivan, Robert Dave. (February 26, 2014). "10 Match Game episodes that hit viewers right in the blank." A.V. Club. Retrieved on March 1, 2017.
- Minovitz, Ethan (August 20, 2012). "Stand-up comedienne Phyllis Diller dead at 95". Big Cartoon News. Archived from the original on December 5, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
- "Goodnight, We Love You: The Life and Legend of Phyllis Diller," The New York Times. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Littleton, Cynthia (January 21, 2015). "Jay Leno on Bill Cosby: 'I Don't Know Why It's So Hard to Believe Women'". Variety. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- "Official Bio". Pink Martini. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- Press Release. (August 21, 2013). "Property from the Estate of Phyllis Diller – The First Lady of Stand-up Comedy," Julien's Auctions. Retrieved on March 1, 2017.
- Phyllis Diller Biography Good Night We Love You, 2005. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- Friend, Tad. "Diller at Ninety-two," The New Yorker, January 11, 2011. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Ryon, Ruth. "It's Still Her Dream House," Los Angeles Times, February 3, 2002. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Interview with Phyllis Diller on "The Magic of Believing" by Claude M. Bristol, YouTube, November 3, 2011.
- Peyser, Tony. "Phyllis Diller keeps brightening corners," Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2005. Retrieved on November 3, 2015.
- Phyllis Diller interview with Fred Wostbrook, Archive of American Television, March 8, 2000. Retrieved on November 5, 2015.
- McGlynn, Katla. (May 25, 2011). "Anderson Cooper: 'Queens Of Comedy' Kathy Griffin, Joy Behar, Phyllis Diller & Joan Rivers Talk Betty White, OWN & More," The Huffington Post. Retrieved on March 1, 2017.
- Severo, Richard; Keepnews, Peter (August 20, 2012). "Laughs Were on Her, by Design". The New York Times.
- Buerger, Megan (August 20, 2012). "Phyllis Diller, comedian, dies at 95". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Duke, Alan (August 22, 2012). "Comedian Phyllis Diller dies 'with a smile on her face'". CNN. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
- Donnelly, Liza. "The Power Of Comedy And Phyllis Diller," Forbes, August 21, 2012. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Pioneers of Television – Phyllis Diller, PBS. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Barr, Roseanne. "Roseanne Barr Hails the Comedic Genius of Phyllis Diller," The Daily Beast, August 21, 2012. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Hernandez, Greg. "Gays mourn the passing of legendary comic Phyllis Diller at age of 95," GayStarNews, August 20, 2012. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Karpel, Ari. "Ladies We Love: Phyllis Diller, Out, March 18, 2011. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Gilbert, Joanne R. (2004). "Performing Marginality: Humor, Gender, and Cultural Critique," p. 118. Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI. ISBN 0814328032.
- Phyllis Diller Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Phyllis Diller Biography, WIC.
- Phyllis Diller – American comedienne and actress Encyclopædia Britannica.
- "The Webster Groves housewife who made us all laugh," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 21, 2012. Retrieved on November 4, 2015.
- "Phyllis Diller,". St. Louis Walk of Fame. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
- "Past Recipients". Women in Film Los Angeles. Archived from the original on June 30, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
- San Diego Film Festival
Phyillis Diller is referenced on Glee, Season 5, episode 6 when Sue Sylvester, played by Jane Lynch, as the single "show business legend(s) born and bred right here in Lima."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Phyllis Diller.|
- Phyllis Diller on IMDb
- Phyllis Diller at the TCM Movie Database
- Phyllis Diller at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
- Works by or about Phyllis Diller in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Phyllis Diller's TV Debut with Groucho Marx video, 13 min.
- on YouTube video, 6 min.
- NPR interview, Phyllis Diller: Still Out for a Laugh
- Diller Interview Comedy Hall of Fame, Archives, 2006
- NPR: Not My Job: Phyllis Diller August 4, 2007, on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
- Phyllis Diller at Find a Grave
- on YouTube