Old Fashioned Names For Girls Used In Bob Hope Movies Phyllis Diller: An Inspiring and Very Funny Life

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Phyllis Diller: An Inspiring and Very Funny Life

In the late 1960s I was a teenager living with my parents in the New York City area. Being an only child and being raised by my parents, I learned to appreciate a very eclectic type of entertainment that included Broadway Plays. One of the biggest hits on Broadway at the time was Hello Dolly. Although the role of Dolly was popularized by both Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey on Broadway, other well-known television, film and actresses took it on from time to time. One of them was Phyllis Diller.

My parents had already taken me to several Broadway productions in the mid to late 1960s, but the one I really wanted to see was Hello Dolly. The movie version hadn’t been made at the time and I wondered why so many people loved that play about a cheating husband who tried his best to set up a wealthy Yonkers merchant with a woman, but he really wanted it for himself. wanted The play was set in New York City in the late 1800s, a time that fascinated me as a teenager. Needless to say, I was thrilled when my dad told me that he was able to get a few tickets to see the almost always sold out show.

Although I was hoping to see Carol Channing in her signature role as Dolly, I was equally excited when my dad said that Phyllis Diller was playing in the current production when Carol took a break from playing that part. I met Phyllis Diller from television. She was a very popular comedian who often appeared on various television shows that I immediately recognized her name and recognized her style very well. Phyllis then performed her act in homely clothes, playing the role of a modern and progressive housewife whose long-suffering husband Fang became the subject of off-the-cuff jokes that make you laugh until you almost cry.

Phyllis Driver was born in Lima, Ohio, on July 17, 1917. I guess you could say her first foray into entertainment was learning to play the piano and studying classical music at the Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago. He then attended Bluffton University in Ohio where he was a friend of Hugh Downs, who later worked for NBC News and became a longtime host of The Today Show. In 1939 Phyllis married Sherwood Anderson Diller and the two went to live and work in California. They had six children together, but were divorced in 1965. Diller married Warde Donovan shortly after her divorce, but that marriage also ended in 1974.

Before her career as a comedienne, Phyllis struggled to help support her family. That led to her first job as a journalist at a local newspaper where she was paid very little. Her husband worked many different jobs, but never stayed at one for too long. Always in a financial bind, Diller often made light of her situation and sarcastically explained her life to other homemakers she met at local Laundromats, grocery stores and PTA meetings. She also injected her own unique brand of humor into her newspaper articles.

As friends, neighbors and newspaper readers became familiar with her humorous take on a life full of hardships, they began inviting Phyllis to speak at local clubs and events. Most of these gigs were free, so her husband encouraged her to start paying for her performances. After developing a few comedy routines and studying under a drama coach to improve her stage presence, Phyllis Diller began receiving rave reviews as a paid local actress. It led to a minor radio hit, which also helped increase her popularity.

Although she began her professional career as a reporter for the San Leandro News-Observer, Diller became a contestant on You Bet Your Life, a popular television game show hosted by comic legend Groucho Marx. attracted national attention. Phyllis Diller’s comedic banter with Marx and her trademark laugh caught the attention of the owner of the Purple Onion Comedy Club in San Francisco. He invited her to perform there and she was an instant hit with the live audience. Her quips like “I once wore a peekaboo blouse… People stared and then turned it off…” were just self-deprecating jokes that endeared her to the audience.

Diller’s time at The Purple Onion quickly paid off in a big way as invitations to other big clubs poured in from around the country. In 1958 he was invited to perform on The Tonight Show, then hosted by Jack Parr, and made a big hit with the national late-night audience. He later appeared on that show many times and was said to be one of Johnny Carson’s favorite guests after he took over hosting duties for The Tonight Show. Bob Hope also noticed Phyllis Diller. He was her comedic inspiration and she admitted to adapting his style into her act. Hope liked Diller’s stage persona and began inviting her to join USO Tours, to appear with him on TV and in several of his films.

In the 1960s Phyllis Diller was a mainstay on various network TV shows. By the time she landed the role of Dolly on Broadway, she had already appeared as an actress in many films and stage shows. The fondest memory I have of watching Dolly live was when she was in a scene that took place in a restaurant. There was some meat, vegetables and some unusually large baked potatoes on her plate. While trying to cut one of the potatoes and then take a bite out of it, she found that it was overcooked and began to squirm as she tried to eat it. Phyllis spat out the piece of potato she was eating, halting her scripted dialogue and telling the audience, “If I eat this overcooked potato, I’ll give new meaning to the word death on stage!” She left the statement with her smiling signature and left the house.

To me, it was classic Phyllis. She had great comedic insight, timing and delivery. She made light of everyday situations that everyone could relate to and always did it in a way that made you laugh. A highly talented individual, Diller fulfilled a lifelong dream of performing as a solo pianist with renowned symphony orchestras across the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. She also wrote a number of popular books and was recognized as a talented artist who created several well-received paintings. In everything she did, Phyllis Diller always stood out as someone you could not miss.

If I had to have one thing I admired most about Phyllis Diller, it was how she reinvented herself. Just think of the odds against a woman living in the 1950s who could outwit a famous comedian from an unknown housewife with money problems who told a few jokes about her life to anyone who would listen. who earned millions in her life and the world laughed at her. Known as someone with boundless energy and a strong work ethic, Phyllis finally retired from live performance in 2002 after a concert in Las Vegas. During a 2005 interview, she mentioned how much she missed performing and getting high from people laughing.

Phyllis Diller is an inspiration because she never allowed anything to stop her from achieving her goals. She looked at challenges as opportunities and left those of us lucky enough to watch her perform on television or in person with the gift of laughter. Phyllis died in August 2012 at the age of 95 at her home in Los Angeles. She will be missed, but never forgotten and will always be admired as someone who did not allow her life to get in the way.

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