Phyllis Diller - Rotten Tomatoes

Phyllis Diller

Highest Rated:   92% A Bug's Life (1998)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Long before Roseanne Barr's "domestic goddess," Phyllis Diller parlayed her life as a housewife into a profitable stand-up comedy career. The daughter of an insurance man, Phyllis Driver had hopes of becoming a concert pianist, and to that end attended Chicago's Sherwood Music Conservatory. Her zany behavior while attending Northwestern University and her 1939 elopement with her first husband Sherwood Diller put a temporary end to her musical career. Several years and many children later, a bored Diller went to work for the advertising department of a California department store, then got a writing job at an Oakland radio station. A knack for making people laugh at church and club functions prompted Diller (with her husband's encouragement) to set her sights on a comedy career. She studied acting and scrutinized the techniques of her favorite male comedians, finally making her nightclub debut in 1955 at San Francisco's Purple Onion, a progressive nightclub which presaged the "comedy workshops" of today. Eighty-nine additional weeks at the Purple Onion enabled Diller to hone her skills to perfection; her first comedy record album appeared in 1959, with numerous TV and stage appearances quickly following suit. Diller developed an outrageous comedy persona, complete with grotesque wigs, garish costumes and her trademarked cackling laugh. Though always a favorite with live audiences, Diller was never quite able to sustain her appeal on film: her 1966 TV series The Pruitts of Southhampton was unsuccessful, as was her only starring feature film, Did You Hear the One About the Travelling Saleslady? (1968). She fared somewhat better as a supporting actress in several Bob Hope comedy films of the late 1960s (Hope was a longtime Diller fan). In later years, Diller periodically altered her public personality, "improving" her plain but distinctive facial features with plastic surgery, concentrating more time on piano concerts and less on stand-up comedy and confining her TV appearances to Home Shopping programs and "psychic hotline" infotainment half-hours. Perhaps Phyllis Diller's "funny hausfrau" throne was eventually usurped by younger talents, but one must not forget that Diller was the one who stuck her neck out first, blazing the trail for the many Roseannes and Brett Butlers who followed.Her film work was sporadic but highlights include The Adding Machine and Did You Hear The One About the Traveling Salesman? as well as the documentaries Wisecracks and The Aristocrats, and the animated film A Bug's Life. Diller died in 2012 at the age of 95.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
90% Carol Channing: Larger Than Life
  • Phyllis Diller
$16k 2012
57% How to Live Forever
  • Participant
$59.3k 2011
No Score Yet Unbeatable Harold
  • Mrs. Clancy
2007
No Score Yet Casper's Scare School
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Forget About It
  • Mrs. Hertzberg
2006
88% Who Killed the Electric Car?
  • Actor
$1.4M 2006
No Score Yet Phyllis Diller: Not Just Another Pretty Face
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Moto X Kids
  • Lou
2004
No Score Yet Goodnight, We Love You: The Life and Legend of Phyllis Diller
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Dr. Hackenstein
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Motocross Kids
  • Lou
2004
No Score Yet Bitter Jester
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet The Last Place on Earth
  • Mrs. Baskin
2002
No Score Yet Kiss My Act
  • Herself
2001
No Score Yet The Nuttiest Nutcracker
  • Sugar Plum Fairy
1999
92% A Bug's Life
  • Queen
1998
0% The Silence of the Hams
  • Old Secretary
1994
36% Happily Ever After
  • Mother Nature
1993
No Score Yet Wisecracks
  • Actor
1993
No Score Yet The Boneyard
  • Miss Poopinplatz
1991
No Score Yet The Nutcracker Prince
  • Mouse Queen
1990
No Score Yet Pucker up and Bark Like a Dog
  • Actor
1989
No Score Yet Dr. Hackenstein
  • Mrs. Trilling
1988
No Score Yet Alice Through the Looking Glass
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Through the Looking Glass
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Alice Through the Looking Glass
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Laughing Room Only
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Jonathan Winters
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Everything's Jake
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet Pink Motel
  • Margaret
1982
No Score Yet Hungry i Reunion
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet Psychotic Connections
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet A Pleasure Doing Business
  • Actor
1979
81% The Sunshine Boys
  • Herself
1975
No Score Yet The Adding Machine
  • Mrs. Zero
1969
No Score Yet The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell
  • Nurse Nellie Krause
1968
No Score Yet Eight on the Lam
  • Golda
1967
70% Mad Monster Party
  • The Monster's Mate
1967
No Score Yet Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!
  • Lily
1966
No Score Yet The Fat Spy
  • Camille Salamander
1966
85% Splendor in the Grass
  • Texas Guinan
1961
89% Maniac
  • Mrs. Buckley
1934

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Roseanne's Nuts
2011
  • Appearing
  • 2011
No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
1992-2014
  • Guest
  • 2007
No Score Yet Family Guy
1999
  • Voice
  • 2007
  • 2006
No Score Yet Last Comic Standing
2003-2015
  • Panelist
  • Judge
  • 2006
  • 2004
  • 2003
No Score Yet 7th Heaven
1996-2007
  • Gabrielle
  • 2003
  • 2002
No Score Yet CHiPs
1977-1983
  • Wanda
  • 1978
No Score Yet Batman
1966-1968
  • Scrub Woman
  • 1966

Quotes from Phyllis Diller's Characters