Phyllis Diller, image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.
The influential and utterly original American comedienne Phyllis Diller died yesterday at the age of 95 at home in Los Angeles. With her sharp-tongued self-deprecation, rapid-fire stand-up delivery, and outrageous looks augmented by cosmetic surgery, she is best known for flash. All of that's a bonus, in our book, considering the simple satisfaction we take from her words on the page. Here are our top five favorite life lessons -- taken with a grain of salt, of course -- from her 2005 memoir "Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy," titled for one of her trademark bits: “I used to work as a lampshade in a whorehouse. I couldn’t get one of the good jobs.”
- "You know what keeps me humble? Mirrors!"
- "Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?"
- "…if you really want to get rid of some people, loan them money."
- "The reason I'm not an alcoholic is I don't like to drink in front of the kids…and when you're away from them, who needs it?"
- "The best contraceptive for old people is nudity."
What are your favorite Phyllis Diller moments, on the page or on the stage?