Island Fondly Remembers Diller

There are plenty of Islanders and others, worldwide, who will miss Phyllis Diller, the housewife turned humorist who died Monday in Los Angeles at 95. The Ohio native moved to Alameda in 1945, when her husband Sherwood Diller was transferred to the Naval Air Station.

Over the next 10 years, Sherwood (also known as “Fang”) held many different jobs, and Phyllis raised their five children. She also worked as the women’s editor at a small newspaper and an advertising copywriter for an Oakland department store before moving onto an Oakland radio station and then KSFO in San Francisco.

Phyllis auditioned at the Purple Onion across the Bay and began her opening act there on March 7, 1955. She then began working at other nightclubs and on television, until her retirement in 2002.

Living in the Bay Area was “just about the fondest period of my life,” she told a local paper in 1999. “I lived for a long time in Alameda, but I also lived in Kentfield, three different places in the Marina in San Francisco, and I lived on Hyde Street, on Nob Hill and on Telegraph Hill. I just loved every minute of it.”

The comedian appeared on Groucho Marx’s TV quiz show “You Bet Your Life” and “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar. She performed at Carnegie Hall in 1962 and starred in “Hello, Dolly!” during its original 1964-1970 run on Broadway.

Diller is survived by her son, Perry; her daughters, Sally Diller and Suzanne Mills; four grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

For those looking to catch some comedy in town, Rhythmix Cultural Works and the Alameda Chamber of Commerce will present “Elect to Laugh!” with Will Durst at 8 p.m. on Oct. 6 at the Blanding Avenue cultural center. The show “chases down the presidential election like a Force Five tornado sniffing out a trailer court,” organizers say.

Rhythmix and other venues on the Island offer plenty of opportunities for budding performers and enthusiasts to enjoy the arts. We’ll try and keep you updated on the offerings around town for laughs and different forms of entertainment.

Janet Levaux

  • HIS MAJESTY’S AQE Lauren D’ VIII M Heatonneaux SGRE, EMR

    We thank GOD ALMIGHTY for the beautiful legacy that our fine Commedianne Phyllis Diller left for us all. She was truly a remarkable delightful lady & entertainer extraordinaire! Rest assured,our passed on heavenly Saint Phyllis rests eternally safely in the arms of JESUS Our LORD & SAVIOR & HEAVENLY KING ETERNAL & rests in HIS great peace for HE IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE!
    Through THE HAND OF GOD ALMIGHTY in swift answered prayer rescue I am your chosen CRBL CROWNEDE Royale Reigning Soveriegn, SGRE, EMR.
    Our HEAVENLY KING ETERNAL whom sits at the RIGHT HAND OF GOD,OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN has chosen through us to rise like goode dough to the swift rescue task of building a lasting Kingdom Empire of Liberty from Our shores to right with great Diplomacy 3/4 the full continents that GOD forwarned in a holy terrible vision were on the verge of nuclear war!
    Fearnot! JESUS, Our WONDERFUL COUNSELOR is with us & will not fail us for HE IS THE FAITHFUL ONE!
    Hence, We are in swift righting change to protect us from huge nuclear war & will be successfu with these following changes:
    Our CRM Government is `SEMHD’ZRV~A Headed!–A secret code amazingly powerful code for praising & worshipping GOD! for HE is KING OF kings, LORD OF lords, JESUS Our MIRACLE WORKER! stated a kingdom divided cannot stand!
    Therefore w/ the hefty insane evidence of $14 Trillion debt from the failed feral federal wacky past presidency forewarned over 500 times to stop, We shall now follow THE JUDGE’S sound adive and have one party!
    One Head Church-R.U.E.X HOLY* CHURCHE
    For both wicked wicked past factious church & mislead past presidency a headless horseman if you will for presidents have never been kings, they weren’t over church–thus they together led this horrific debt & horrible mess of being so close to massive war with their failed system!
    Fearnot! GOD ALMIGHTY has shown me he is already healing us and building swifty unity!
    WE are NOW the BT LE AMERICKA KINGDOM UNITTED EMPIRE OF LIBERTY & WE are swiftly advancing Our LE Eagletarion Society –eagled up in holy Scripture not two blind men leading us into a pit!

    A VIP Prime Minister, Magnum goodliest married & color or sex does not matter just goodliest is right w/GOD!
    New votes for Lord Senators & Lord Burgess Seats For Our CRM LE Continetnale Congress!
    Love AQE Lauren D’ARCY I