Nightly News | August 20, 2012
>>> finally tonight if phyllis diller hadn't arrived on the scene right when she did the comedy business would be different today. at a time when women comedians were either very tame or just nonexistent, she went there and changed it forever. phyllis diller died today. she was 95 years old.
>> the one and only phyllis diller .
>> there was no one like her until she came along.
>> i was at a beauty parlor and a lady at the desk said, madame, we do repairs, not reclamations.
>> she was born phyllis driver in lima, ohio, a serious musician who worked on her college newspaper , married young at 22, and had six children in all. while her husband worked making bombers at detroit's willow run plant, she wrote advertising copy. when they moved west, she took a job as a secretary in a san francisco tv station where her friends at work, at the laundry laundromat and pta meetings told her how funny she was. that led to a night club act and tv.
>> i had a wedding ring for 18 years.
>> really. two more payments and it'll be all yours.
>> while she famously had more face lifts than husbands she had a few partners over the years. she didn't like smoking but always had a cigarette holder and she wasn't always funny. in fact, she turned in some memorable, dramatic performances. mostly, phyllis diller blew open the doors of comedy for all the women who came after her and she launched a generation of comics and then some. when her one-time comedy partner bob hope died, she came on the air with us to remember his favorite joke about her.
>> it was that i was so ugly that a peeping tom threw up on my window sill .
>> bad health finally forced her to give up stand up a decade ago. her last appearance was on the tonight show in 2007 . tonight every big name in hollywood has reacted to the death of a giant among them. the one of a kind phyllis diller , gone at the age of 95. that is our