Pioneering comedian Phyllis Diller dead at 95

Posted at 3:40 PM, Aug 20, 2012

(CNN/WTVR) – Comedian Phyllis Diller died “peacefully in her sleep” Monday morning, her manager told CNN. Diller was 95.

Her son, Perry, “found her with a smile on her face,” manager Milt Suchin said.

According to, Diller burst on the scene on Groucho Marx’s game show “You Bet Your Life” in 1955. 

The debut led to her first comedy performance at a club in San Francisco. That show marked the beginning of a legendary career full of outrageous costumes and one-liners that would set audiences reeling.

Diller’s career as a stand-up comic skyrocketed in the 1960s, partly because of her many appearances with Bob Hope on his television specials and USO tours.

She became a pop culture icon for her disparaging jokes about her looks, her cooking and her husband “Fang.”

“She was a true pioneer,” said talent agent Fred Wostbrock. “She was the first lady of stand-up comedy. She paved the way for everybody. She paved the way for Joan Rivers, Chelsea Handler, Roseanne Barr, Ellen Degeneres, and all the women stand-up comics. She was the first and the best.”

Diller also went on to become a successful actress and author. 

Check back with for more on this developing story.