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Phyllis Diller, 1917 – 2012

by on August 20, 2012

Actor and comedian Phyllis Diller passed away today, Monday, August 20, 2012, at the age of 95. Diller was a 37-year-old mother of five at the time she launched her career in 1955, creating a colorfully eccentric persona as a figure in a fright wig, garish clothing, and a fake-jeweled cigarette holder. She was an early pioneer among female stand-up comedians, being one of the first to stand alongside her male counterparts in prime clubs, and her notoriety on stage led to multiple roles in film and TV throughout her long career, as well as numerous tours with Bob Hope to entertain U.S. troops stationed in Vietnam.

Diller’s trademark laugh and distinctive voice guaranteed her numerous voiceover roles, appearing first as herself in an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies in 1972, followed by a role in the 1973 Hanna-Barbera sitcom Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. She had numerous guest appearances in other animated shows including Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Animaniacs, King of the Hill, The Wild Thornberries, Hey Arnold!, Jimmy Neutron, The Powerpuff Girls, and Family Guy; as well as a role as the queen ant in Pixar’s A Bug’s Life in 1998.

(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated Diller’s first voice-over role was in Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, but her actual first voice-over role was as herself on the episode “A Good Medium is Rare” in The New Scooby-Doo Movies in 1972. Thanks to Christopher Cook for the tip.)

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