Phyllis Diller’s family suit

by Walter Olson on August 21, 2012

From the New York Times obituary:

She was believable as well as hilarious when she talked about her husband, Fang; her mother-in-law, Moby Dick; and her sister-in-law, Captain Bligh. She was so believable that shortly after she divorced Sherwood Diller in 1965, his mother and sister sued her for defamation of character in an effort to keep her from talking about them in her act. She insisted that she was talking about a fictional family, not them, and eventually settled out of court.

Compare the lawsuit against comedian Sunda Croonquist, thrown out by a judge in 2010. And the London borough of Barnet is not exactly in the Diller spirit.