Joan Rivers Dies at Age 81

Comedian Joan Rivers Dies at Age 81

Legendary comedian Joan Rivers dies a week after she was hospitalized in New York City, her daughter Melissa Rivers announced Thursday afternoon. She was age 81. Rivers had not only been a comedian but also an actress, talk-show host and critic of those who walked the red-carpet. She died on Thursday after she had gone into cardiac arrest during a medical procedure she was having last week.

Melissa Rivers stated that her mother passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. and that Joan was surrounded by her family and close friends. Joan had become one of comedy’s most familiar faces. She first rose to fame back in the 1960’s and 1970’s when she showed up on the male dominated talk-show circuit, inserting provocative jokes into the stuffy nighttime network shows.

After she first appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1965, Joan began her own talk-show calling which encompassed stints on The Tonight Show and The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers which appeared on Fox in 1986. She declared that when she launched her rival program, that Johnny Carson, who had been considered her mentor, never said a word to her again.

Rivers was to become a lasting television fixture. She was most famous for being a celebrity fashion critic. She started discussing stars and their clothes when they attended awards shows in the 1990’s, when she began working for E! Network. She would attend various accolade shows in order to remark on who was looking excellent and who was not. At the time she passed away, she was the host of the television series Fashion Police.

Joan was born in Brooklyn in 1933. After she graduated from college in 1954, she was employed in the fashion industry before she started working on the stand-up comedy trail. Even back then, she had a rash and brazen style about her.

Rivers was joined many times on television by Melissa, who was her only child. In fact they worked together on recent programs on E! Joan was married two times. The first was a short marriage soon after she got out of college, and the second was to Edgar Rosenberg. He was a producer who ended up becoming also her business partner and manager before he committed suicide in 1987.

Joan had homes in both Manhattan and Malibu and had written 12 books. They ranged in scope from autobiographical to comedy and even self help. She had been on Broadway numerous times, and in 1994 had earned a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Play for Sally Marr…and Her Escorts. It was about the life of the mother of comic Lenny Bruce. She had also appeared in Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, which was considered a distinguished documentary which gave a frank look at the lady, including inside the many different joke drawers she pulled from.

Rivers appeared in the movie doing stand-up appearances in smaller places all over the country. It also showed some of the dull drudgery she had to do in order to keep her empire going, and the work ethic that had her holding a microphone right up until the night before her medical complications. In the film, she stated, “I will do anything.” Legendary comedian Joan Rivers ended up passing away a week after she was hospitalized in New York City, her daughter Melissa Rivers announced Thursday afternoon.

By Kimberly Ruble


NBC News


The Wall Street Journal