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Actress Phyllis Diller speaks during the check presentation of $1 million dollars donated to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation by the Bob & Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation March 5, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA. Linda Hope daughter of Bob Hope presented the check to the academy to establish the new ATAS 'Hope Comedy Collection.'
Phyllis Diller, the legendary humorist credited with cackling the path for many female comics, died at her Brentwood home in Los Angeles on Monday. She was 95.
"It is a great loss today," her agent Fred Wostbrock told NBC LA.
"She was a true pioneer and the first lady of standup. She paved the way for Chelsea Handler, Roseanne Barr, Joan Rivers and Ellen DeGeneres. She was the best. The first female standup to play Vegas. She was on Broadway, she made movies, she did it all."
Often the aim of her own jokes, the comedienne was known for her self-deprecating candidness in live, television, and film appearances, and for her signature, unmistakable laugh. A friend to Muppets and frequent game show guest, the housewife-turned comedian had a career spanning nearly 50 years.
Making her network television debut as a contestant on the Groucho Marx game show, "You Bet Your Life," the mother of five steadily built her stand-up comedy persona as the corner-cutting wife of "Fang," a husband that is never seen and wasn't real. Through two actual marriages, "Fang" remained.