Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller

Comedian and Broadway veteran Phyllis Diller passed away on August 20th in her Los Angeles home. She was 95 years old. BroadwayWorld remembers Diller's long and exceptional career with the photo collection below.

Diller first appeared as a stand-up at The Purple Onion on March 7, 1955 and remained there for 87 straight weeks. Diller appeared on "Del Courtney's Showcase" on KPIX television on November 3, 1956. Diller's fame was expanded when she co-starred with Bob Hope in 23 television specials and three films in the 1960s: Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, Eight on the Lam, and The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell. Although only Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! performed well at the box office, Hope invited Diller to perform with him in Vietnam in 1966 with his USO troupe during the height of the Vietnam War.

Throughout the 1960s, she appeared regularly as a special guest on many television programs. For example, she appeared as one of the What's My Line? Mystery Guests. The blindfolded panel on that evening's broadcast included Sammy Davis, Jr., and they were able to discern Diller's identity in just three guesses. Also, Diller made regular cameo appearances making her trademark wisecracks on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. Self-deprecating to a fault, a typical Diller joke had her running after a garbage truck pulling away from her curb. "Am I too late?" she'd yell. The driver's reply: "No, jump right in!"

Beginning December 26, 1969, she had a three-month run on Broadway in Hello, Dolly! (opposite Richard Deacon) as the second to last in a succession of replacements for Carol Channing in the title role, which included Ginger Rogers, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, and Pearl Bailey. After Diller's stint, Ethel Merman took over the role until the end of the show's run in December 1970.

Photo credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller in New York City. 1988

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller in Los Angeles, California. September 1985

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller in Los Angeles, California. September 1985

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller in New York. September 1985

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller in New York. September 1985

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Jack Parr and Phyllis Diller in New York City. June 1989

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Jack Parr , Phyllis Diller , Marim Parr in New York. June 1989

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller New York City. October 1981

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller in New York City. October 1981

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller and Ruth Warrick New York City. October 1981

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller and Ruth Warrick in New York City New York. October 1982

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller and Ruth Warrick in New York City New York. October 1982

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller in New York City. October 1982

Photo Coverage: Remembering Phyllis Diller

 

 

 



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Walter McBride As a 14 year old youth, Walter was transfixed by his first Broadway Show, the original production of 'GREASE'. His Journey to celebrity photojournalism began that fateful night. Meeting, photographing and getting to know the cast inspired him to spend his professional life doing what he loved. Walter moved to Manhattan and for a leading role as a Photographer & Photo Researcher. Currently headlining in New Jersey with his partner Richard and family members Dali (Jack Russell) & Gala (Schnoodle). Recently he made his Broadway debut sharing the stage with Hugh Jackman in 'Hugh Jackman on Broadway' as well as receiving the Actors' Equity Association Gypsy Spirit Award. Walter McBride Photography is syndicated worldwide by Corbis/AP.