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Pioneering female comic Phyllis Diller dies at age 95

LOS ANGELES -- Legendary comic Phyllis Diller, who blazed the way for women to enter the male-dominated comedy circuit, died Monday morning at her home in Los Angeles, according to her longtime manager Milt Suchin. She was 95.

"The world has lost a true trailblazer, a gracious and kind woman, beloved by all," Suchin told The Hollywood Reporter.

"We lost a comedy legend today. Phyllis Diller was the queen of the one-liners. She was a pioneer," Ellen DeGeneres tweeted.

"Fang, I'm so sorry for your loss. Rest in Peace, Phyllis Diller," Frank Conniff tweeted.

Diller was born on July 17, 1917, in Lima, Ohio. She started working in radio in 1952 and began developing her comic persona of a frazzled housewife with frizzy hair and a cackling laugh who was a terrible cook and had a crazy husband named Fang. Diller once told this writer that Fang was purely fictional and was not based on any of her husbands (she was twice divorced and had partner who died while they were together).

Her friendship with legendary Bob Hope led to many appearances with him on television, where she became a popular guest on talk shows. She also made cameo roles in movies, many of which were low-budget or flops, but many remember her as the wisecracking nightclub hostess in "Splendor In The Grass" (1961).

Diller's stand-up comedy act was a huge hit. She then starred opposite Richard Deacon on Broadway in "Hello, Dolly!" as the last-to-last replacements for the original Dolly, Carol Channing.

She made five comedy albums, did voice-overs on animated movies including "A Bug's Life" and sitcoms including "Family Guy," and played herself on an episode of "Boston Legal" in which she claimed to have had a torrid romance with Denny Crane (William Shatner's role) in a foxhole during World War II.

Diller was one of the first celebrities to publicly discuss her plastic surgeries, something once taboo.

A series of medical problems late in life forced Diller into retirement in 2005.

One of her last contributions to pop culture was the 2005 release of her autobiography, "Like A Lampshade In A Whorehouse."