We've run a number of short items over the past few days about a back injury sustained by Phyllis Diller (who turns 90 on Tuesday—happy birthday, Phyllis!), teasingly inferring the ruptured disk was in fact an excuse made up by the stand-up veteran to avoid having to follow through on a Tonight Show commitment. We realize, however, that some of our feeble attempts at humor can sometimes be misinterpreted as fact—who wouldn't, after all, consider faking an illness in order to avoid an onslaught of Jay Leno's stale Paris Hilton jokes—and so we'd like to now cede the floor to Ms. Diller's personal manager Milt Suchin, who sent us an e-mail clarifying the matter:
Several people have brought to my attention your piece that Phyllis Diller was fibbing about her broken back and that she wasn't too ill to do Letterman. In actuality she fractured a disc while practicing her material. She said "I was working on a bit for Jay Leno's Tonight Show. I twisted & lifted a very heavy joke book and popped a disc. All I want to do is crack up the audience not crack up me!"
She is resting comfortably as she heals. She has every intention to appear on Jay's show as soon as she is better. As a matter of fact she is making plans to appear on the show for her 91st birthday.
By the way in response to one of your readers' comments - Fang is alive and well and asleep on the couch.
Personal Manager to Ms. Phyllis Diller
We hope that clears up any confusion on the matter, reassuring any doubters of the purity of Ms. Diller's intentions and tireless commitment to her craft—for she did not just throw out her back, she threw it out lifting a gargantuan, prop Encyclopedia of Jokes, all in the name of a bit.