Remembering Phyllis Diller: 12 of the Comedienne’s Best Quotes
Phyllis Diller wouldn’t want us to cry — so we’re going to laugh instead as we remember 12 of the comedienne’s funniest quotes.
Sad news, Bettys: Phyllis Diller—actress, comedienne extraordinaire, and all-round legend—passed away yesterday peacefully in her sleep. According to manager Milt Suchin, her son, Perry, “found her with a smile on her face.” She was 95 years old.
Phyllis lived a long and incredibly full life; best known for her zany housewife persona, her self-deprecating humor, her fictional husband named “Fang” (who, by the way, was not based on any of her real-life husbands), and her distinctive laugh, her stand-up act took the world on by storm in the ‘50s. Her fame carried through right up until her death through her many film and television appearances, including the Bob Hope flick Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, the documentary The Aristocrats, and (my personal favorite) A Bug’s Life (did the voice of the Queen sound familiar? That was Phyllis!). In recent years, she was unfortunately in fairly poor health—a heart attack in 1999, a bad fall in 2005, and a back fracture in 2007 impeded her ability to perform, resulting in her retiring from her stand-up appearances. She will always be remembered for her intelligence, her wit, and her feisty brazenness.
Phyllis wouldn’t want us to cry, though. She’d probably much prefer us to laugh. So in honor of this incredible comic, here are some of her best quotes. Keep on cracking them up in that Great Gig in the Sky, Phyllis!
1. “I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.”
2. “If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to the door, greet him with, ‘Who could have done this? We have no enemies!’”
3. “For Fang, getting out of bed in the morning is a career move.”
4. “Remarrying a husband you’ve divorced is like having your appendix put back in.”
5. “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”
6. “Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?”
7. “My recipe for dealing with anger and frustration: set the kitchen timer for twenty minutes, cry, rant, and rave, and at the sound of the bell, simmer down and go about business as usual.”
8. “You know you’re old if they’ve discontinued your blood type.”
9. “I’m at an age when my back goes out more than I do.”
10. “You can say the nastiest things about yourself without offending anyone.”
11. “Burt Reynolds once asked me out. I was in his room.”
12. “Aim high, and you won’t shoot your foot off.”
True that, Phyllis. True that.
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.