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Phyllis Diller auction shows a different side of the comedian

September 18, 2013|By David A. Keeps

Phyllis Diller was famous for her wacky minidresses and wigs, stored in a zebra print-wallpapered room in her 1914 Brentwood mansion. But come Sunday, when her furniture and art go up for auction in Beverly Hills, the public will see the extent to which the outrageous comedian actually was a classically trained musician and a modernist painter with a traditional taste in décor.

PHOTOS: Phyllis Diller auction highlights

Among the Diller items being offered for sale: a 17th century Italian marriage chest ($3,000 to $4,000), a Georgian style mahogany secretary and breakfront ($25,000 to $35,000) and a set of four silver and crystal sconces ($1,500 to $2,500). A selection of Diller’s memorabilia, costumes and artworks will be offered for sale, many with estimates of $200 to $400.

“Bidders from around the world will determine the true values on auction day,” said Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s Auctions. The items' celebrity connections could send the selling prices two to three times above the  estimates.

The pieces come from the home of the woman who considered Bob Hope to be her mentor and who named her living room the Bob Hope Salon. (Less reverently, she called a powder room the Edith Head and a mirrored telephone room the John Wilkes Booth.) Fittingly, Diller's auction follows Julien's two-day sale of Hope's belongings.

Items in the Diller auction can be viewed at a public exhibition from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Wednesday and Thursday and during auction hours. The auction is split into two sessions that start at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Both auction and exhibition are at Julien’s, 9665 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 150 in Beverly Hills. For more information: www.juliensauctions.com.

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