Phyllis Diller dies at 95; outlandish comedian

By 1962, she was performing at Carnegie Hall.

She later incorporated her musical training into her act. Billed as Dame Illya Dillya, she performed as a piano soloist with about 100 symphony orchestras around the country in the 1970s and early '80s.

Diller, who suffered a near-fatal heart attack in 1999, retired from doing her comedy concert act in 2002 after 47 years as a stand-up comedian. But she continued to act occasionally and do voice-over work, as well as paint.

Her marriage to Sherwood Diller ended in divorce, as did a second marriage to actor Warde Donovan. Diller, who never remarried, was the companion of attorney Robert Hastings from the mid-1980s until his death in 1996.

Diller is survived by her son, Perry; her daughters, Sally Diller and Suzanne Mills; fourgrandchildren; and onegreat-granddaughter.

Unlike most performers, the older Diller got, the better she looked. Of course she had help — a lot of it.

In 1970, she had her teeth straightened. A year later, she had a complete face-lift. By 1989, she had had her teeth bonded, a breast reduction, a tummy tuck, a brow lift, a nose job, an under-eye lift, cheek implants, eye-liner tattoos and a chemical peel.

"I never liked the way I looked, and you know what that does to your self-esteem," she told the Chicago Tribune in 1989.

She first went public with her face-lift in 1972. Her candor about her plastic surgeries later earned her an award from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery as "the first person to have the courage to proclaim her surgery and show her results publicly."

Diller's publicist initially warned her not to get a face-lift, believing that a new and facially improved Diller would ruin her career.

Instead, the changing face of Phyllis Diller simply provided her with more comic fodder for her act:

"I've been done over so many times that no two parts of my body are the same age," she'd say on stage. "When I die, God himself won't know me."