Legendary comedian Phyllis Diller has passed away, TMZ reports. She was 95, and had been under hospice care following a fall. Her family was with her when she died.
Diller had a relatively late start in the entertainment industry — she initially studied music and sometimes worked as a copywriter — but she had an incredibly long career, from her first television show in 1952 to her final appearance on The Tonight Show in 2007, encompassing two television shows, dozens of specials (many with Bob Hope, with whom she toured Vietnam in 1966), and uncountable nights doing stand-up at The Purple Onion and elsewhere.
As most clips from the era will show, Diller, a frequent guest on shows like Laugh-In, was able to get a foothold in the male-dominated world of comedy largely through a brand of harshly but hilariously self-deprecating humor complemented by her eccentric outfits and hair. But the bottom line was that she was funny and beloved (check out the reception she got on What's My Line) and an unquestionable pioneer. Here's a video from The Rosie Show of female comics paying tribute.