Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Roseanne Barr and songwriter Diane Warren pay homage to the late pioneering comedienne.
Comedienne great Phyllis Diller has just passed away. The housewife-turned-comic, who's well known for her wild hair, outlandish outfit and self-deprecating jokes, died in her Los Angeles home at the age of 95. Suffering a near-fatal heart attack in 1999, she lived in hospice care before her death.
Her longtime manager, Milton Suchin, said Phyllis "died peacefully in her sleep with a smile on her face." E! News reported she was found by her son Perry. The cause of her death hasn't been released, but she reportedly injured her wrist and hip in a serious fall recently.
Her agent Fred Wostbrock said in a statement after her death, "She was a true pioneer. The first female stand-up comedian. She paved the way for everybody. She paved the way for Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Handler. Phyllis was the first of the first. The first female to play Vegas ... she was on Broadway, she made movies. She did it all."
Those comediennes acknowledged their senior's pioneering role in opening the path for female comedians. Joan tweeted, "I'm beyond saddened by the death of Phyllis Diller. We were friends - Melissa and I had a wonderful time with her at lunch just a month ago."
"The only tragedy is that Phyllis Diller was the last from an era that insisted a woman had to look funny in order to be funny," she continued. "If she had started today, Phyllis could have stood there in Dior and Harry Winston and become the major star that she was. I adored her!"
Roseanne Barr stated, "A revolutionary woman who inspired me always has died today-but I know she was ready and wanted to go. Fly Free, friend. Phyllis Diller RIP. last time I saw Ms. Diller she'd a stroke & when her assistant told her she could no longer drink gin, I immediately took her out 4 martinis."
"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" host posted, "We lost a comedy legend today. Phyllis Diller was the queen of the one-liners. She was a pioneer." Diane Warren wrote similar note, "Oh so sad to hear of the passing of an absolute LEGEND. No-one was funnier. RIP Phyllis."
The Grammy-winning songwriter then tweeted a picture of her with the late stand-up comic along with another bittersweet message, "Make the angels laugh Phyllis, they have a naughty sense of humor too! So glad I got to meet U."