Phillis Diller, a comedy pioneer who was also a trailblazer in her public acknowledgement of having plastic surgery, died yesterday at the age of 95.
"The older I get, the funnier I get," she said in 1961 at the age of 44. "Think what I'll save in not having my face lifted."
By the time she was 55 she in fact did get her face lifted along with a series of plastic surgery procedures she candidly discussed in public, most notably in her 2005 autobiography where she acknowledged having "fifteen different procedures."
She was described in a 1995 Orlando Sentinel article as a "plastic surgery résumé, which is printed on rainbow-colored paper and, after 22 years of work and 17 procedures done by nine surgeons, is threatening to spill onto a second page. There was 1985, a particularly busy year: She had a brow lift, nose job (the second), under-eye lift, cheek implants, eye-liner tattoo and she had her teeth bonded."
Her numerous surgeries were the subject of a 20/20 segment in 1993, and she was given an award by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery for "the tremendous breakthrough in acceptance for our field, when she was the first person to have the courage to proclaim her surgery and show her results publicly."