Diller was born Phyllis Ada Driver in Lima, Ohio. She began her career working at
KROW radio in Oakland in 1952. Phyllis first appeared in March of 1955 as a stand-
up at The Purple Onion, a cellar club in the North Beach area of San Francisco.
Although she has made her career in comedy, Diller studied the piano for many
years. She later decided against a career in music after hearing her teachers
and mentors play with much more ability than she thought that she would be able
to achieve. She still plays in her private life, however, and owns a custom-made harpsichord.