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Phyllis Diller dead at 95: Celebrities react

August 20, 2012|By Christie D'Zurilla
  • Phyllis Diller, shown at an event in 2008, died Monday at age 95.
Phyllis Diller, shown at an event in 2008, died Monday at age 95. (Charley Gallay / Getty Images )

Phyllis Diller, who died in her sleep Monday at age 95, was being remembered by friends and fans as a woman who blazed a path and made masses laugh.

Penn Jillette summed it up well: "A hero, a pioneer, a good friend, an Aristocrat and one tough ... chick, who made my mom and me laugh a lot is dead. I will miss her."

OK, with one minor flaw, but hey, that's comedy: "I was so upset that I didn't even write her name. My hero and friend who is now dead is Phyllis Diller. Man, I loved her."

Ellen DeGeneres remembered her similarly: "We lost a comedy legend today. Phyllis Diller was the queen of the one-liners. She was a pioneer."

PHOTOS: Phyllis Diller | 1917-2012

Joan Rivers said she was "beyond saddened" by Diller's death.

"We were friends - [daughter] Melissa and I had a wonderful time with her at lunch just a month ago. The only tragedy is that Phyllis Diller was the last from an era that insisted a woman had to look funny in order to be funny," she said over a couple of tweets.

"Thank you for what you did for all women in comedy who followed your path," wrote fellow comic Ruth Buzzi of "Laugh-In" fame. "My dear friend, rest in peace; I'll miss you."

Said Whoopi Goldberg: "A true original has died. Phyllis Diller There was NOOne like her, no 1looked like her sounded like her. A FUNNY FUNNY. Classy& Smart RIP."

Henry Winkler recalled Diller as "a painter on canvas and in humor of the human condition," and wished that she rest in peace "making GOD laugh."

PHOTOS: Celebrities react to Phyllis Diller's death

Nancy Sinatra added a personal touch, bidding Diller farewell and thanking her "most of all for your sweetness to my mother. Godspeed."

Said Barbra Streisand: " I adored her. She was a wondrous spirit who was great to me."

Reba McEntire had kind words as well. "Gonna miss Phyllis Diller. Rest in peace my friend. The world is a better place because of you. Happy Trails."

And comic Elayne Boosler was plain in her opinion: "Phyllis Diller may be the only person I will ever know who was truly made from 100% love. Wow."

The mother of five who didn't step on a comedy club stage until she was 37 had honed a rapid-fire delivery that included up to 12 punch lines a minute and riffed on topics including her domestic life with fictional husband "Fang." For more details on Diller's life, read The Times' full obituary.

Below, see the outlandish lady on Ed Sullivan's show, and get a taste of her first TV appearance as a raw talent with Groucho Marx.


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