MAYA ANGELOU The best-selling author and Black rights activist pens a letter to comedienne Phyllis Diller about a recent television special. Autograph letter signed: "Maya", 1 page, 6¼x3¾. Piedmont Triad Area, (North Carolina), 2003 April 17.

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The best-selling author and Black rights activist pens a letter to comedienne Phyllis Diller about a recent television special.
Autograph letter signed: "Maya", 1 page, 6¼x3¾. Piedmont Triad Area, (North Carolina), 2003 April 17. On card imprinted with her name to comedienne and actress Phyllis Diller. Begins: "Dear Phyllis". In full: "Always greetings from my heart. I recently saw you on a T.V. special, I think it was called Blind Date. As usual you were hilarious. You never disappoint. Joy! To you and sweet memories." With original metered mailing envelope, addressed to Diller in unknown hand. Angelou is likely referring to Star Dates, on which Diller appeared on January 12, 2003. That year, Diller was also seen on the TV series 7th Heaven (the episode aired just four days after this letter was written), Street Smarts, Last Comic Standing, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Real Roseanne Show, Hollywood Squares (five episodes) and Life With Bonnie, and in the TV specials Bob Hope at 100, The Gong Show: The E! True Hollywood Story and 101 Most Shocking Moments in Entertainment. Best-selling author and poet MAYA ANGELOU (1928-2014) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Die (1971). Her autobiographical books, such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970) and The Heart of a Woman (1981), recount her struggle for identity as a Black woman in a hostile world. Angelou is only the second poet in U.S. history to write and recite an original work for a Presidential inauguration (Bill Clinton, 1993); Robert Frost was the first (John F. Kennedy, 1961). The first Black woman director in Hollywood, Angelou has written, produced, directed and starred in productions for stage, film and television. She was nominated for the 1973 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Look Away. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Angelou has also lent her voice and talents to Civil Rights causes. Comedienne PHYLLIS DILLER (1917-2012), known for her outrageous appearance, zany outfits, distinctive laugh and a stand-up act that featured frequent references to her fictional husband, "Fang", and zingers about her sex appeal and numerous plastic surgeries, got her big break in March 1955 (at age 37), when she debuted at San Francisco's Purple Onion club. A subsequent appearance on The Tonight Show hosted by Jack Paar launched her national career, which got a big boost after Bob Hope saw Diller in a Washington, D.C. club. A favorite of the comedian, Diller would appear in three of Hope's films and 23 of his TV specials. Diller, who recorded her first comedy record album in 1959, took her groundbreaking "funny hausfrau" act to nightclubs and television variety shows and specials and she also appeared on the big screen. Her feature film credits include Splendor in the Grass (1961), The Fat Spy (1966), Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966), The Sunshine Boys (1975) and The Silence of the Hams (1994), and she provided the voice of the Queen in A Bug's Life (1998). By 2000, the comedienne, who had trained as a concert pianist before her marriage (1939-1965) to Sherwood Anderson Diller, had appeared as a piano soloist with 100 symphony orchestras across the U.S. Despite retiring from nightclub/stage tours in May 2002 at the age of 84, Diller continued to make films (Motorcross Kids, 2004; Forget About It, 2005) and occasionally appear on TV programs, including two episodes of 7th Heaven (2002 as well as 2003) and a guest shot on The Wayne Brady Show (2004). Minor surface creases and impressions (not evident head-on). Fine condition.

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