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Cigarette Holder used by Phyllis Diller during 1966 USO Christmas Tour

Cigarette Holder used by Phyllis Diller during 1966 USO Christmas Tour

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Description (Brief)

Phyllis Diller used this cigarette holder with a wooden cigarette when she joined Bob Hope’s USO Christmas tour in 1966. The complete outfit consisted of a green dress with a metallic daisy pattern, a pair of green and gold shoe boots, a pair of green gloves, and this cigarette holder. Also included on the USO tour in 1966 were bandleader Les Brown, singer/actress/dancer Joey Heatherson, singer Vic Damone, singer Anita Bryant, the Korean Kittens singing and dance group, baton twirler Diane Shelton, Miss World Reita Feria, and Bob Hope’s wife Dolores. The troupe toured around Vietnam, Thailand, Guam, Wake Island, and the Philippines entertaining troops. The subsequent television special aired in the United States on January 18, 1967.

Diller was lifelong friends with Bob Hope, co-starring with him in 3 films and many TV specials. She had to change her usual material for this trip because her normal jokes about parenting and housekeeping were aimed at the people back home and not those fighting a war halfway across the world. Hope helped Diller create an entirely new routine where he played the straight man and allowed Diller to perform all of the jokes, which resulted in a bickering married couple routine. While Diller’s signature prop was a cigarette holder, it only ever held a wooden prop cigarette; she was a lifelong non-smoker. In 1978, the USO of Philadelphia, Inc. awarded Diller the USO Liberty Bell Award “for demonstrating concern for the welfare and morale of America’s armed forces.” The award is also at NMAH (Catalog Number 2003.0289.42).

Currently not on view
Object Name
Cigarette Holder
Date made
ca 1966
Associated Name
Hope, Bob
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
paint (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
adhesive (overall material)
overall: 9 3/8 in x 1/4 in; 23.8125 cm x.635 cm
overall: 9 3/8 in x 5/8 in; 23.8125 cm x 1.5875 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Phyllis Diller
Vietnam War
Vietnam War
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Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
Popular Entertainment
Phyllis Diller
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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