Groundbreaking female comedian, world-class cackler, and irrepressible icon Phyllis Diller passed away in her sleep this morning. She was 95. Diller began her stand-up career in the mid-'50s when she was already a 37-year-old mother of five.
Breaking big in the early 1960s as the "female Bob Hope," Diller costarred alongside Hope in the movies (Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number?), and lent her distinctive voice to animated film (Mad Monster Party, A Bug's Life), but mostly made her mark as a guest on TV talk and variety shows. She always made an impression-the cackle, the cigarette holder, the jokes about her husband, "Fang," the clothes that made her "look like an ostrich on a three-day binge."
"I decided that if I was to be an idiot broad," Diller once said, "I might as well make it pay."
Diller's death triggered an outpouring of grief and appreciation from fans, including Joan Rivers, who said:
The only tragedy is that she was the last from an era that insisted a woman had to look funny in order to be funny. If she had started today, Phyllis could have stood there in Dior and Harry Winston and become the major star that she was.
Speaking of Rosie O'Donnell, the comedian revealed today (via poem, natch) that she suffered a "secret heart attack" last week and is currently recovering at home:
My body hurt/ i had an ache in my chest/ both my arms were sore/ everything felt bruised/ musculature - i thought/ strained or pulled tissue...
...50% of women having heart attacks never call 911/200,000 women die of heart attacks every year in the US/by some miracle I was not one of them/Know the symptoms ladies/listen to the voice inside/CALL 911/save urself...
...My LAD was 99% blocked/ they call this type of heart attack/ the Widow maker/ i am lucky to be here.
Rosie didn't call 911, but, remembering something she'd seen in a commercial ("Saved by a tv commercial/ literally," she wrote), she popped a few aspirin and went to see a cardiologist the next day. The doctor rushed her to the hospital where O'Donnell received a stent. This has been a rough month for O'Donnell, who also recently revealed that her fiance has been diagnosed with non-cancerous but still dangerous desmoid tumors. Speedy recovery, Rosie. [E!] [TMZ]
Despite reports claiming that director Tony Scott (who died yesterday after jumping from a Los Angeles bridge) had recently been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, Scott's widow says that the rumor is "absolutely false." Scott was remembered fondly today by many friends and colleagues, including Tom Cruise (Scott directed Cruise in Top Gun):
Tony was my dear friend and I will really miss him...He was a creative visionary whose mark on film is immeasurable. My deepest sorrow and thoughts are with his family at this time.
Ummmm...in lighter celebrities-in-dire-peril news, apparently Blair from The Facts of Life (a.k.a. Lisa Whelchel) will be a contestant on Survivor: Philippines? Question mark? The 25th season of Survivor will also feature Jeff Kent, "a former MVP major leaguer who played for the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers." Here are some other facts about the life of LIsa Whelchel from The Facts of Life:
1. In 1984 she released an inspirational Christian pop music album titled All Because of You.
2. She refused to film a Facts of Life storyline in which Blair lost her virginity.
3. She's really into Jesus.
4. She's really into homeschooling.
5. Her hair tastes of cotton candy and its touch cures psoriasis.
6. She is still not interesting enough to get me to watch one second of Survivor.
- Wynonna Judd's husband Michael Scott Moser has had his left leg amputated following a motorcycle crash in South Dakota. [TMZ]
- William Windom—who played Jessica Fletcher's country doctor BFF in 50 episodes of Murder, She Wrote—has passed away at age 88. Sigh. Lots of death today. I'm going to go swimming. [Yahoo!]
- "A Sneak Peek at Adam Scott's Junk." Lies. [Vulture]
- Did you know that Hillary Swank has been dating this dude named John Campisi for five years? I didn't. But anyway, they broke up. And now I resent this newfound knowledge for taking up space in my brain. [People]
- Here's Jennifer Aniston wearing a wedding ring, supposedly. [SplashNews]
- Here's Jennifer Aniston wearing a bra, undeniably. [Us]
- NBC has secured Michael J. Fox's half-hour comedy project, offering the star a guarantee of 22 full episodes before the pilot has even been filmed. [Vulture]
- Here's Kelly Brook in a dress with an elegant sweaty buttcrack applique. [DailyMail]
- Jason Segel and Michelle Williams put food in their mouths and ate it and then presumably pooped it out later. MORE ON THIS STORY AS IT DEVELOPS. [JustJared]