Diller, Phyllis 1917–

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DILLER, Phyllis 1917–


Original name, Phyllis Ada Driver; born July 17, 1917, in Lima, OH; daughter of Perry Marcus and Frances Ada (maiden name, Romshe) Driver; married Sherwood Anderson Diller, November 4, 1939 (divorced, September 1965); married Warde Donovan (an actor), October 7, 1965 (divorced, July 1975); companion of Robert Hastings (an attorney), c. 1985 (died, 1996); children: (first marriage) Sally, Suzanne, Stephanie, Perry, Peter III. Education: Studied at Sherwood Music Conservatory, Chicago IL, c. 1935–37; studied music at Bluffton College, 1938–39. Avocational Interests: Cooking, painting, music, writing.


Agent—William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Manager—Milton B. Suchin, 12747 Riverside Dr., Suite 208, Valley Village, CA 91607.


Actress and stand–up comedienne. KSFO, San Francisco, CA, publicist, c. 1954; had first night club act at Purple Onion, San Francisco, CA, for 89 weeks, c. 1954; appeared in numerous clubs around the world doing her comedy act; appeared as piano soloist with 100 symphony orchestras around the country, as Dame Illya Dillya; appeared in television commercial for Game Show Network, 1997; retired from nightclub and stage tours in 2002; also worked as a columnist for San Leandro News–Observer, copy writer for Kahn's Department Store, Oakland, CA.


American Guild of Variety Artists, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, Actors' Equity Association, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.

Awards, Honors:

Commonwealth scholar, 1964; TV Radio Mirror Award, best TV comedienne, 1965; Golden Apple Award, most cooperative actress, 1966; Golden Laurel Award nomination, female new face, 1967; Golden Globe Award nomination, best TV star—female, 1967, for The Pruitts of Southampton; Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, television, 1975; Doctorate of Humane Letters, National Christian University, 1977; USO Liberty Bell Award, 1978; City of Los Angeles Proclamation of Phyllis Diller Week by Mayor Tom Bradley, 1979; Doctor of Comedy, Kent State University, 1980; Humanitarian Award, AMC Cancer Research Center, 1981; named to Ohio's Hall of Fame, 1981; San Francisco Cabaret Gold Award, 1984; Franklin B. Ashley Award, American Academy of Cosmetics Surgeons, 1986; Child–Help USA Women of the Year Award, 1989; Living Legacy Award, Women's International Center, 1990; Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy, 1992; honorary Ph.D., Bluffton College, 1993; Lucy Award, Women in Film Lucy Awards, 2000; Governor's Award, San Diego Film Festival, 2004; Minutemen Award, U.S. Treasury Department; Distinguished Service Citation from the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars; Woman of the Year Award, Variety Club Women of Baltimore; Governor Award, Ohio; honorary mayor of Brentwood, CA; Women's Hall of Fame, inductee, for contributions as entertainer, author, and actress; numerous citations from national associations, primarily for humanitarian work, including awards from Veteran Assistance League, Jewish Foundation for Retarded Children, U.S. Department of the Army, and Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California.


Stage Appearances:

(Stage debut) The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, 1961.

Dolly Levi, Hello Dolly, St. James Theatre, New York City, 1970.

Also appeared in Happy Birthday; Dark at the Top of the Stairs; Everybody Loves Opal; What Are We Going to Do with Jenny?; Subject to Change.

Film Appearances:

Texas Guinan, Splendor in the Grass (also known as Splendour in the Grass), Warner Bros., 1961.

Camille, The Fat Spy, Magna Pictures Distribution Corp., 1966.

Lily, Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number, United Artists, 1966.

Golda, Eight on the Lam (also known as Eight on the Run), United Artists, 1967.

Voice of Mrs. Frankenstein, Mad Monster Party (animated; also known as Mad Monsters Party?), AVCO Embassy Pictures, 1967.

Agatha Knabenshu, Did You Hear the One about the Traveling Saleslady?, Universal, 1967.

Nurse Nellie Krause, The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell, United Artists, 1967.

Herself, Rowan & Martin at the Movies (documentary short), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1968.

Silent Treatment, 1968.

Mrs. Zero, The Adding Machine, 1969.

(Uncredited) Herself, Mooch Goes to Hollywood (also known as Mooch), Reel Media International, 1971.

(Uncredited) Herself, The Sunshine Boys, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1975.

(Uncredited) Herself, The Lion Roars Again (documentary short film), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1976.

Mrs. Wildebeast, A Pleasure Doing Business, 1978.

Margaret, Pink Motel, New Image, 1982.

Mrs. Trilling, Doctor Hackenstein, Troma Team Video, 1988.

Voice of Mousequeen, The Nutcracker Prince (animated), Warner Bros., 1990.

Mrs. Frasco, Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog, 1990.

Miss Poopinplatz, The Boneyard, Prism Entertainment Corp., 1991.

Herself, Wisecracks (documentary), Alliance International Pictures, 1991.

Voice of Mother Nature, Happily Ever After (animated), First National Pictures, 1993.

Mother, The Perfect Man, 1993.

Old secretary, Il silenzio dei proscuitti (also known as The Silence of the Hams), October Films, 1994.

Voice of Queen, A Bug's Life (animated), Buena Vista, 1998.

The Debtors, 1999.

Voice of Sugar Plum Fairy, Nuttiest Nutcracker (animated), Columbia TriStar Home Video, 1999.

Everything's Jake, 2000.

Mrs. Baskin, The Last Place on Earth, 2002.

Mrs. Higgenbothen, Hip! Edge! Quirky!, 2002.

Herself, Bitter Jester (documentary), Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2003.

Goodnight, We Love You, (documentary), 2004.

Lou, Motocross Kids, Tag Entertainment, 2004.

The cashier, West from North Goes South, 2004.

Mrs. Clancy, Unbeatable Harold, 2005.

Mrs. Hertzberg, Forget about It, 2005.

Television Appearances; Series:

Phyllis Pruitt, The Pruitts of Southampton (also known as The Phyllis Diller Show), ABC, 1966–67.

Herself, The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show, NBC, 1968.

Herself, The Gong Show, NBC and syndicated, 1976.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Herself, Hollywood Women (documentary), ITV, 1994.

Herself, Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand–Ups of All Time, Comedy Central, 2004.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Belva A. Lockwood, Swing Out, Sweet Land, NBC, 1970.

Herself, Kiss My Act, ABC, 2001.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Whatever Became Of …, ABC, 1981.

Television Appearances; Specials:

The Phyllis Diller Special, ABC, 1963.

Show Street, ABC, 1965.

An Evening with Phyllis Diller, WGN, Chicago, IL, 1966.

Copresenter, The 38th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1966.

Herself, The Jack Benny Hour, NBC, 1966.

Guest, The Bob Hope Show, NBC, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1972.

Herself, Jack Benny's Bag, NBC, 1968.

Phyllis Diller Special, NBC, 1968.

Voice, The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians, ABC, 1970.

Plimpton! Did You Hear the One About … ?, ABC, 1971.

The Shape of Things, CBS, 1973.

Phyllis Diller's 102nd Birthday Party, ABC, 1974.

Swing Out, Sweet Land, NBC, 1976.

Herself, Joys (also known as Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope in "Joys"), NBC, 1976.

Herself, Christmas at Walt Disney World, 1978.

Leapin' Lizards, It's Liberace, CBS, 1978.

Bob Hope Special: The Bob Hope Special from Palm Springs, NBC, 1978.

Herself, The Bob Hope Funny Valentine Special, NBC, 1981.

Take One Starring Jonathan Winters, NBC, 1981.

Bob Hope Special: The Bob Hope Christmas Special, NBC, 1981.

Host, Minsky's Follies, HBO, 1982.

Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's "Women I Love—Beautiful But Funny," NBC, 1982.

George Burns Celebrates 80 Years in Show Business, NBC, 1983.

Performer, Circus of the Stars #8, CBS, 1983.

Bob Hope Special: Happy Birthday, Bob!, NBC, 1983.

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, NBC, 1984.

Herself, Unrehearsed Antics of the Stars (also known as Bob Hope's "Unrehearsed Antics of the Stars"), 1984.

(In archive footage) Herself, TV's Funniest Gameshow Moments, 1984.

(In archive footage) Herself, The Great Standups (documentary), 1984.

Blondes vs. Brunettes, ABC, 1984.

Bob Hope's Happy Birthday Homecoming, NBC, 1985.

Bob Hope Buys NBC?, NBC, 1985.

Herself, Circus of the Stars #10 (also known as The Tenth Annual Circus of the Stars), CBS, 1985.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC, 1986.

Funny, ABC, 1986.

An All–Star Tribute to General Jimmy Doolittle, syndicated, 1986.

Jonathan's mother/various characters, Jonathan Winters: On the Ledge, Showtime, 1987.

Voice of The White Queen, Alice through the Looking Glass, 1987.

Bob Hope's High–Flying Birthday Extravaganza, NBC, 1987.

Hope News Network, NBC, 1988.

Happy Birthday, Bob—50 Stars Salute Your 50 Years with NBC, NBC, 1988.

Friday Night Surprise!, NBC, 1988.

America's Tribute to Bob Hope, NBC, 1988.

The Second Annual American Comedy Awards, ABC, 1988.

(Uncredited; in archive footage) Herself, We Can Keep You Forever (documentary), BBC, 1988.

Hanna–Barbera's 50th: A Yabba Dabba Doo Celebration, TNT, 1989.

Ole! It's Bob Hope's Acapulco Spring Fling of Comedy and Music, NBC, 1990.

Herself, The Horror Hall of Fame, syndicated, 1990.

Herself, The Very Best of Ed Sullivan Show 2, CBS, 1991.

Super Bloopers & New Practical Jokes, NBC, 1992.

Carol Leifer: Gaudy, Bawdy & Blue, Showtime, 1992.

Bob Hope Presents the Ladies of Laughter, NBC, 1992.

Bob Hope and Other Young Comedians: The World Laughs, Young and Old, NBC, 1992.

The 6th Annual American Comedy Awards, ABC, 1992.

The 61st Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, syndicated, 1992.

More of the Best of the Hollywood Palace, ABC, 1993.

Bob Hope: The First Ninety Years, NBC, 1993.

Lassie Unleashed: 280 Dogs Years in TV, ABC, 1994.

Cirrus of the Stars Goes to Disneyland, CBS, 1994.

Bob Hope's Birthday Memories, NBC, 1994.

(In archive footage) Herself, The Best of the Don Lane show, Nine Network, 1994.

Herself, Bob Hope: Happy 91st Birthday, Bob, 1995.

(In archive footage) Herself, Ed Sullivan All–Star Comedy Special, CBS, 1995.

(In archive footage) Herself, 50 Years of Funny Females (documentary), 1995.

Host, Young Comedians (also known as Bob Hope's "Young Comedians" and Bob Hope's "Young Comedians: A New Generation of Laughs"), NBC, 1995.

Liberace: Mr. Showmanship (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 1995.

Liberace: The E! True Hollywood Story (documentary), E! Entertainment Television, 1998.

(In archive footage) Herself, The Best of the Dean Martin Roasts, 1998.

People Count: Six Billion (documentary), CNN and TBS, 1999.

Norman Jewison on Comedy in the 20th Century: Funny Is Money (documentary), Showtime, 1999.

Let Me In, I Hear Laughter: A Salute to the Friars (documentary; also known as Let Me In, I Hear Laughter), Cinemax, 1999.

Gypsy Rose Lee: Naked Ambition (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

The Great American History Quiz, History Channel, 1999.

Barry Levinson on the Future in the 20th Century: Yesterday's Tomorrows (documentary), Showtime, 1999.

Phyllis Diller: First Lady of Laughter (documentary), A&E, 2000.

(In archive footage) Herself, Playboy: The Party Continues, 2000.

Herself, Tiny Tim: The E! True Hollywood Story (documentary), E! Entertainment Television, 2001.

Phyllis Diller: The E! True Hollywood Story (documentary), E! Entertainment Television, 2001.

AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Barbara Streisand, Fox, 2001.

Marshalls' Women in Comedy, PAX, 2002.

Herself, The First 13th Annual Fancy Anvil Awards Show Program Special Live in Stereo, Cartoon Network, 2002.

Herself, Art of Darkness: A Night Gallery Retrospective (documentary), Starz, 2002.

Herself, The Gong Show: The E! True Hollywood Story (documentary), E! Entertainment Television, 2003.

Herself, 100 Years of Hope and Humor, NBC, 2003.

Herself, Jerry Lewis: The E! True Hollywood Story (documentary), E! Entertainment Television, 2003.

Herself, Bob Hope at 100, BBC, 2003.

Guest panelist and honoree, 100 Greatest Stand–Ups of All Time, Comedy Central, 2004.

Also appeared in Annual Rock n' Roll Sports Classic; Grammy Awards; How Hollywood Stays in Shape; Joys of Aging and How to Avoid Them; Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; Minsky's Burlesque; Salute to Gordon Sinclair; The Twenty–four Days of Christmas; John Wayne Special; Women Who Rate a 10.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

The Ed Sullivan Show, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1970.

Mystery guest, What's My Line?, CBS, 1963, 1964.

Herself, The Andy Williams Show, NBC, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971.

Herself, The Dean Martin Show, NBC, 1966, 1967, 1973, 1974.

Scrubwoman, "The Minstrel's Shakedown," Batman, ABC, 1966.

Herself, The Pat Boone Show, 1967.

The Hollywood Palace, ABC, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970.

Herself, The Carol Burnett Show, CBS, 1967.

Host, "The Phyllis Diller Happening," Kraft Music Hall, 1967.

Guest performer, Rowan & Martin's Laugh–In, NBC, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973.

(Uncredited) Maxwell Smart, "Pheasant under Glass," Get Smart, CBS, 1969.

Herself, Toast of the Town, CBS, 1969.

"Beauty Is Only Skin Deep Unless You're a Banana," The Red Skelton Show, 1969.

"Chalk Can Be Sexy," That's Life, 1969.

Daphne Daniels, "Love and the Phonies," Love, American Style, ABC, 1969.

Herself, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979, 1980.

Herself, The Dick Cavett Show, ABC, 1970.

Can You Top This, 1970.

Kraft Music Hall, 1970, 1971.

Pamela, "Pamela's Voice," Night Gallery, NBC, 1971.

"Love and the Heist," Love, American Style, ABC, 1971.

Herself, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, CBS, 1971.

"Love and the Vacation," Love, American Style, ABC, 1971.

The Red Skelton Show, 1971.

Herself, The Flip Wilson Show, NBC, 1971, 1973.

The Julie Andrews Hour, 1972.

Voice of herself, "A Good Medium Is Rare," The New Scooby–Doo Movies (animated), CBS, 1972.

Voice, "The Lady Detective," Wail Till Your Father Gets Home (animated), syndicated, 1973.

Herself, The Mike Douglas Show, syndicated, 1976.

Herself, The Hollywood Squares, NBC and syndicated, 1976.

Herself, Easy Does It … Starring Frankie Avalon, CBS, 1976.

Herself, The Muppet Show, syndicated, 1977.

Wanda, "Crack–Up," CHiPs, NBC, 1978.

Herself, Dinah!, 1979.

Viola Penny, "The Audit Couple/The Scoop/My Boyfriend's Back," The Love Boat, ABC, 1979.

Guest host, An Evening at the Improv, 1981.

"Bewigged, Bothered and Bewildered/The Anniversary Gift/Honey Bee Mine," The Love Boat, ABC, 1982.

Herself, "You'll Never Get Rich," The Jeffersons, CBS, 1985.

Nora Mills, "The Trouble with Mary Jane," Tales from the Darkside, syndicated, 1985.

Guest, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, 1988.

Herself, "But Seriously Folks," Full House, ABC, 1988.

Mrs. Mallik, "Better Part of Valor," Night Heat, 1988.

Voice of herself, "Ludlow Laughs," Reading Rainbow, PBS, 1989.

"The Class of 90," 227, NBC, 1990.

Mrs. Barish, "Oral Sex, Lies and Videotape," Dream On, HBO, 1993.

Mrs. Peterson, "Kiss and Tell," Blossom, NBC, 1993.

Herself, "Beach Blanket Blossom: Part 2," Blossom, NBC, 1994.

Mrs. Peterson, "Sex, Lies, and Mrs. Peterson," Blossom, NBC, 1994.

Mrs. Peterson, "Oh, Baby," Blossom, NBC, 1994.

Ditmara Wink, Mrs. Piggle–Wiggle, Showtime, 1994.

Madam Ouspenskaya, "Who's Afraid of Cory Wolf?," Boy Meets World, ABC, 1994.

Herself, "Romancing the Crone," Cybill, CBS, 1996.

Gladys Pope, The Bold and the Beautiful, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004.

Herself, "Talked to Death," Diagnosis Murder, CBS, 1998.

Voice of Suzi Squirrel, "Sunshine Squirrels," Animaniacs (animated), 1998.

Great Aunt Nancy Priest, "The Ghost of Whyther Grange," Emily of New Moon, 1998.

Host, Mad TV, Fox, 1998.

Great Aunt Nancy Priest, The Book of Hours, 1999.

Mabel, "Nobody Knows …, " 7the Heaven, The WB, 1999.

Voice of Lillian, "Escape from Party Island," King of the Hill (animated), Fox, 1999.

Voice of Sam, "Two's Company," The Wild Thornberrys (animated), Nickelodeon, 1999.

Voice of Mitzi, "Grandpa's Sister/Synchronized Swimming," Hey Arnold! (animated), Nickelodeon, 1999.

Herself, Pajama Party, Oxygen, 2000.

"Unfunny Girl," Hollywood Off–Ramp, E! Entertainment Television, 2000.

"As Others See Us," Arli$$, HBO, 2001.

Herself, Larry King Live, CNN, 2001.

Bebe, "Look Mom, One Hand!," The Drew Carey Show, ABC, 2002.

Voice of Grandma Neutron, "Granny Baby/Time Is Money," The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (animated), Nickelodeon, 2002.

Coach Korns, "Snow Job," Even Stevens, The Disney Channel, 2002.

Grandma Titus, "Grandma Titus," Titus, Fox, 2002.

Gabrielle, "Gabrielle Come Blow Your Horn," 7th Heaven, The WB, 2002.

Herself, "Phyllis Diller," Star Dates, E! Entertainment Television, 2003.

Gabrielle, "We Do," 7th Heaven, The WB, 2003.

Contestant, Street Smarts, 2003.

"Most Shocking Moments in Entertainment," E!'s 101, E! Entertainment Television, 2003, 2004.

Herself, Hollywood Squares, 2003, 2004.

Herself, The Wayne Brady Show, syndicated, 2004.

Voice of Mask Scara, "A Made Up Story," The Powerpuff Girls (animated), Cartoon Network, 2004.

Voice of Granny Neutron, "MaternoTron Knows Best/Send in the Clones," Adventures of Jimmy Neutron (animated), 2004.

Made television debut in The Jack Paar Show; also appeared in All Nonsense News Network; America 2–Night; Chuck Barris Rah Rah Hou; The Bonkers; Celebrity Battle Stars; Celebrity Bullseye; Comedy Tonight; Norm Crosby's Comedy Shop; Crosswits; Dance Fever; John Davidson Show; Daytime; Do or Diet Show; Phil Donahue Show; Epcot Magazine; Fantasy; David Frost Show; Jackie Gleason Show; Good Morning America; Merv Griffin Show; Heavenly Bodies; Hour Magazine; Jack Jones Show; Madame Place; Made in Hollywood; Barbara Mandrell Show; Match Game; Mindreaders; Monte Carlo Show; Jim Nabors Show; Over Easy; Password +; Regis Philbin Show; Richard Simmons Show; Soap World; Take Off; Take One; Tattletales; Toni Tennille Show; Alan Thicke Show; This Is Your Life; Today Show; Bobby Vinton Show; As the World Turns; Fame, Fortune & Romance, ABC; The Test; as herself, Last Comic Standing 2, NBC; Lilli Resphighi, "No Orchids for Dinner," The Good Guys; guest host, Nashville Now, TNN.

Television Work; Series:

Additional voices, Captain Planet and the Planeteers (animated; also known as The New Adventures of Captain Planet), TBS and syndicated, 1990.



Phyllis Diller Laughs, Verve, 1961.

Are You Ready for Phyllis Diller?, Verve, 1962.

Born to Sing, Columbia, 1968.

Phyllis Diller, Comedienne, National Public Radio, 1986.

Also recorded Great Moments of Comedy with Phyllis Diller, Verve; Harold Arlen Revisited, Crewe Records.


How to Have a Moneymaking Garage Sale, 1987.



Phyllis Diller Tells Us about Fang, Doubleday, 1963.

Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints, Doubleday, 1966.

Phyllis Diller's Marriage Manual, Doubleday, 1967.

The Joys of Aging and How to Avoid Them: Can Sex Keep You Young? And Other Silly Questions, Doubleday, 1981.

Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Story, 2005.

Also wrote The Complete Mother by Phyllis Diller, Doubleday.



St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, 2000.


Saturday Evening Post, April, 1989, p. 30.

Time, June 18, 2001.

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Diller, Phyllis 1917–

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