Lima, Ohio, USA
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Phyllis Diller (born Phyllis Ada Driver; July 17, 1917) is a Golden Globe-nominated American comedienne, considered one of the pioneers of female stand-up comedy. She created a stage persona of a wild-haired, eccentrically-dressed housewife who makes jokes about a fictional husband named "Fang" while smoking from a long cigarette holder. Diller is credited with opening the doors of stand-up comedy to women. Diller was born to Perry Marcus Driver and his wife, the former Frances Ada Romshe, in Lima, Ohio, United States. Diller attended Lima`s Central High School, then studied for three years at Sherwood Music Conservatory, Chicago, Illinois. She then transferred to Bluffton College in Bluffton, Ohio, where she met fellow "Lima-ite" and classmate, Hugh Downs. Diller was a housewife, mother, and advertising copywriter. During World War II, Diller lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan while her husband worked at the Willow Run Bomber Plant. In the mid-1950s, she made appearances on The Jack Paar Show and was a contestant on Groucho Marx`s quiz show, You Bet Your Life.
Though her main claim to fame is her stand-up comedy act, Diller also has appeared in other films besides the three mentioned above, including a cameo appearance as Texas Guinan, the wisecracking nightclub hostess in the 1961 Hollywood production of Splendor in the Grass. She appeared in more than a dozen, usually low-budget movies, including as "The Monster`s Mate" in the Rankin/Bass animated cult classic Mad Monster Party (1967), co-starring Boris Karloff. Diller, a longtime resident of Brentwood, California, credits much of her success to Bob Hope, in large part because he included her in the pictures and Vietnam USO shows mentioned above. She is an accomplished pianist as well as a painter.
Diller has been married and divorced twice. She also dated Earl "Madman" Muntz, a pioneer in oddball TV and radio ads. She had six children from her marriage to her first husband, Sherwood Anderson Diller. Diller has candidly discussed her plastic surgery, a series of procedures first undertaken when she was 55. The results have drawn numerous awards and acknowledgments from plastic surgeons and medical organizations. Diller has suffered medical problems, including a heart attack in 1999. After a hospital stay she was fitted with a pacemaker and released. A bad fall resulted in her being hospitalized for tests on her head and pacemaker in 2005. She has since retired from stand-up comedy appearances. She wrote her autobiography in 2005, titled Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse. A direct-to-DVD version of the project, complete with early live clips of Diller, and interviews with her showbiz colleagues including Don Rickles, among others, was released in December, 2006. A screenplay about Diller`s early years in stand-up, according to blind items in the trades, is in preproduction with Patricia Clarkson slated to play the comedienne. On July 11, 2007, it was reported by USA Today that she fractured her back and had to cancel a Tonight Show appearance, during which she had planned to celebrate her 90th birthday.
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Lima Central High School, OH
Sherwood Music Conservatory, IL, Bluffton College, OH
Full Name at Birth
Phyllis Ada Driver
Perry Marcus Driver
Frances Ada Romshe
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Phyllis Ada Driver (July 17, 1917 – August 20, 2012), better known as Phyllis Diller, was an American stand-up comedian, actress, singer, dancer, and voice artist, best known for her eccentric stage persona, her self-deprecating humor, her wild hair and clothes, and her exaggerated, cackling laugh.
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Los Angeles, California, USA
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