Phyllis Diller (July 17, 1917 – August 20, 2012) (born Phyllis Ada Driver) has some Oakland connections.

In the late 1940s, she and her husband moved to Alameda with 5 children. With her husband unemployed, she was turned down for a job as a music librarian at the Oakland Tribune. She ended up writing a shopping column for the San Leandro News-Observer. 1

Later she worked at Kahn's Department Store writing ad copy. Diller would go from department to department collecting info, and her infectious laughter could be heard through the building.

With encouragement from her fellow employees at Kahn's and her husband, she tried stand-up comedy at the Purple Onion in San Francisco in March, 1955. A short stint turned into a long one, and the rest, as they say, was history.

Diller also spent some time writing ad copy for radio station KROW. 1

Links and References

  1. From Alameda housewife to superstar comic, Phyllis Diller tells all in ‘Lampshade’ Bay Area News Group April 7, 2005