Dead People I Love

Hello Dear Readers!  Lately I’ve found myself hanging out with a lot of really fun dead people!

You see, I’ve been surfing YouTube and watching clips of the old talk shows of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. These shows are a treasure trove of legendary showbiz types.  Here’s a couple of people I have a new appreciation for thanks to YouTube videos.

Oscar Levant

“There is a fine line between genius and insanity.  I have erased this line.”

 Oscar Levant - Wiki
Fascinating Oscar Levant, a multi-talented genius.

Oscar Levant was a pianist, composer, humorist, actor and author and was famous for his witticisms in radio, television and the movies. He suffered from neurosis and hypochondria and he was  frequently committed to mental hospitals by his wife.

When asked by Jack Parr what he did for exercise, Oscar Levant replied:  “I stumble and then fall into a coma.

Still, he was talented as all get out and had a sharp wit and boy oh boy could he play the piano!

“In some situations I was difficult, in odd moments impossible, in rare moments loathsome, but at my best unapproachably great.”

Oscar Levant died of a heart attack at age 65.  His death was discovered by his wife when she went to get him for an interview with Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) who was a photo-journalist at the time.

Oscar Levant wrote three memoirs:  A Smattering of Ignorance, The Unimportance of Being Oscar Levant and the one I just ordered, The Memoirs of an Amnesiac.

Phyllis Diller

“I asked the waiter, ‘Is this milk fresh?’ He said, ‘Lady, three hours ago it was grass.”

Phyllis Diller was much more than a comic.
Phyllis Diller was a comic and so much more.

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?” 

We all remember Phyllis Diller as the wild-haired wife of Fang.  But she was also an accomplished concert pianist and performed with orchestras all over the country as Dame Illya Dillya.  She also loved to paint and many of her paintings have been bought by art collectors.

“My mother-in-law had a pain beneath her left breast. Turned out to be a trick knee.”

Phyllis Diller was the mother of six children, three of whom she outlived.  One of her daughters suffered from schizophrenia and was institutionalized for most of her life.

After watching YouTube clips of her, I learned that she attributed her success in life to a book she described as life changing called The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol.  She talks about it here:

The Magic of Believing is free online.  I found a free audio copy of it here:

Well that’s all we have time for today, Dear Readers, I hope you enjoyed the very first installment of Dead People I Love. 

Until next time . . . I love you


26 thoughts on “Dead People I Love

  1. The book sounds like it should be presented to every student – not sure yet what age. But standing up for oneself and beliving in oneself is a wonderful messeage. As well as to be kind and happy.


  2. It’s amazing how many dead people are out there just waiting for someone to love them. Some of my favorites are grumpy old curmudgeons such as Mark Twain and WC Fields. I once did an blog interview with Ben Franklin to celebrate this 300th birthday. Unfortunately, he would not share any of his secrets on how to be a hit with women. Some of these dead folks are just plain uncooperative–you can’t get a word out of them.

    • Oh I love the idea of a blog interview with a dead notable. Good ol Benny — never without a girlfriend (mistress?) I’ve always loved WC Fields. I recently read WC Fields and Me written by his longtime girlfriend. There’s also a movie based on the book with Rod Steiger playing W.C. Fields. It’s on Netflix — it was really good.

  3. There are an awful lot of dead people to love.
    Some are more loveable because they’re dead.

    And some are just missed, like Oscar and Phyllis.

  4. I was going to say I love Phyllis Diller, but then I realized I was thinking of Carol Channing. They are pretty much the same, no? I guess you tell how deep my love flows…

  5. Thanks for these clips mom! I find it interesting that both comedians were very musically accomplished. I hope you upload another list soon!

    • I will do some more. It is interesting that humor and music often go together. I can’t think of very many famous comedians who aren’t musically inclined too. Interesting isn’t it?

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