She may be the only woman ever deemed too sexy for Playboy.
Yes, that’s right. The comedienne posed for the lad mag—as a gag, she would later explain—in the late 1960s. Playboy’s editors thought it would be funny, she said, and what better way to get a laugh than by sending out seductive centerfold photos of a hilariously tacky, impressively unsexy woman? It seemed like a foolproof plan.
There was, however, one problem: Diller, who had long obscured her figure with the trademark ill-fitting lamé dresses she often wore onstage, turned out to have a shapely, sexy physique—and a pretty face, too, under all her clownish makeup. To everyone’s bewilderment (except maybe Phyllis Diller’s), Phyllis Diller was a bombshell.
So, as the legend goes, the startled Playboy execs scrapped the photos, deeming them too sexy for their comical purposes, and the pictures were never published.