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Comedian Phyllis Diller dies

posted 20 Aug 2012, 13:27 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 20 Aug 2012, 13:27 ]

Pioneering female comedian Phyllis Diller has died at the age of 95.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (REUTERS) - Comedian and actress Phyllis Diller has died at her Los Angeles home at age 95. Diller made a name for herself as a former housewife with a raucous cackle and jokes about her own looks which made her one of America's first female stand-up comedy stars.

Diller created an indelible persona with her distinctive braying laugh, a cigarette holder, teased hair, outlandish costumes and a fictional loutish husband she called Fang.

Her act consisted of rapid-fire jokes and one-liners that often spoofed social pretenses by poking fun at herself ("I went bathing nude on the beach the other day; it took me 20 minutes to get arrested") as well as a world of invented characters.

In recent years, she suffered from heart problems and fractured her pelvis in a fall but continued to work in clubs and on television well into her 80s. She provided the voice of an insect in the 1998 animated movie "A Bug's Life" and appeared in the 2005 comedy documentary "The Aristocrats."