Phyllis Diller Dead at 95

Plus, the comedienne's protégé Rosie O'Donnell suffers heart attack.

Posted: 08/21/2012 09:00 AM EDT
Phyllis Diller

Beloved comedy legend Phyllis Diller has died, her manager confirms. She was 95, and passed away in her sleep.

Characterized by her sharp wit and signature cackling laugh, Diller is widely considered to be the first star female comedian and has influenced everyone from Joan Rivers to Ellen DeGeneres. "The world has lost a true trailblazer, a gracious and kind woman, beloved by all," says Milt Suchin, her manager of 33 years.

Meanwhile, Diller's self-proclaimed protégé and fellow comedy legend Rosie O'Donnell suffered a heart attack last week. She is in stable condition and recovering at home. O'Donnell, 50, calls it a "miracle" she's still alive and credits her survival to taking an aspirin as she had seen on Bayer ads.

"Thank god/saved by a tv commercial/literally," she wrote Monday on her blog.

Earlier this month, O'Donnell's fiancée Michelle Rounds was diagnosed with desmoid tumors, a rare cancer-like disease.

Soon after hearing of Diller's death, O'Donnell posted a photo of herself with her mentor on Twitter with the caption "What a joy she was."


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