Those of you who did not grow up with the variety shows of the 1960s — especially The Ed Sullivan Show — just don’t know what you missed.
Seeing Phyllis Diller perform was both hilarious and a revelation.
She looked like us.
TV back then wasn’t filled with beauty mutants, and Phyllis Diller was actually the least-attractive woman on TV. As far as her face went. Personality-wise, she was Miss America. The real America. The one where you had to do laundry, put up with a cranky spouse, and deal with all the annoying little things in life.
She blazed that trail. And her presence alone was an inspiration to many. “Why, if she could do it, why can’t I?”
We’ll never know how many young girls watching her went on to different careers — some having nothing to do with entertainment — just because of her.
She inspired — and she was inspired.
Once again, I’ll remind everyone that her Bible was The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol.
I’ll repeat a clip I’ve run before, with Diller speaking about the book at different times in her life:
She’s with her pal Liberace and finally meeting her idol, writer Claude M. Bristol.