Gays mourn the passing of legendary comic Phyllis Diller at age of 95

Diller: 'My  first audience were gay people because they have a great sense of humor'

Gays mourn the passing of legendary comic Phyllis Diller at age of 95
20 August 2012

Just a month after her 95th birthday,  legendary comic Phyllis Diller died on Monday (20 August) at home in Los Angeles surrounded by her family.

Diller began working as a stand-up comic in the 1950s and is credited with paving the way for the likes of Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr and Margaret Cho, among others.

Diller had a gay following from the beginning.

‘My first audience were gay people because they have a great sense of humor,’ she once said. ‘They love comedy and they love to laugh. How do you think they got the word gay put on them?’

Among those reacting to the news of Diller’s death were lesbian comics Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell and Sandra Bernhard.

‘We lost a comedy legend today,’ DeGeneres wrote on Twitter. ‘Phyllis Diller was the queen of the one-liners. She was a pioneer.’

Tweeted Bernhard: ‘It was an honor to know her to laugh with her to be inspired by her. Without her none of ladies could have ever made it. #phyllisdiiller we will miss you.’

O’Donnell posted a photo of herself and Diller with this message: ‘What a joy she was.’

A then-unknown Barbra Streisand was Diller’s opening act at a Greenwich Village nightclub called The Bon Soir in the early 1960s (see photo below) and was featured frequently on game shows such as What’s My Line? and variety shows such as Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

Diller appeared alongside Bob Hope in 23 television specials and three films and frequently entertained US troops with Hope for the United Services Organization.

Diller was a standout in the 2005 documentary The Aristocrats and was still working as late as 2007.



No thumbnail available

Sam Champion talks to Good Morning America viewers about his engagement

Weather anchor says of fiance Rubem Robierb: 'I am so, so lucky to have someone like this in my life'
No thumbnail available

White House to give Harvey Milk postage its stamp of approval with dedication ceremony

Postage stamp featuring slain gay civil rights leader debuts on 22 May
No thumbnail available

Former Ireland rugby star who claimed 'homosexual people' have no interest in sports is now apologizing

Neil Francis: On reflection, I would like to withdraw those comments and apologise profusely and unreservedly'
No thumbnail available

Neil Patrick Harris gives new hubby a chance to shine on stage

Tony winner to direct David Burtka in solo New York City cabaret show
No thumbnail available

Christians Ladele and McFarlane lose fight to discriminate against gays

British Christians defeated at European Court of Human Rights after losing their jobs because they refused to work with gay couples
No thumbnail available

Dominic Cooper reveals he was a teenage cross-dresser

Mamma Mia and History Boys actor also reveals embarrassing story where he accidentally showed his genitals on gay TV host Graham Norton's chat show
No thumbnail available

Gay sports presenter gives hilarious cheeky dig at Putin live on BBC

Clare Balding, who has had to defend herself for not boycotting Sochi, jokes the Russian president will enjoy the double luge
No thumbnail available

Majority of Hong Kongers support some rights for gay couples

A new study published by Hong Kong’s Center for Comparative and Public Law has found that 74% of residents in the Chinese autonomous territory support some level of legal recognition for same-sex relationships – though support for same-sex marriage remains low
No thumbnail available

United Methodist minister defrocked over performing son’s same-sex marriage

The Rev. Frank Schaefer was stripped of his clerical credentials on Thursday after he remained unrepentant about presiding over his son’s 2007 same-sex marriage
No thumbnail available

MPs having gay affairs plan to vote against marriage equality

Gay political pundit Iain Dale has said there are married MPs having gay affairs who plan to vote same-sex marriage