Joan Rivers, the always sharp and acerbic comedienne who in later years reinvented herself as a fashion critic and celebrity talk show host, has died at age 81.
Rivers passed away on Thursday afternoon at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she was rushed August 28 after suffering respiratory and cardiac arrest during a doctor’s visit. The announcement was made today by daughter Melissa Rivers.
From gag-writing in the 1960s to her guest stint on Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show” and her own Fox variety program “The Late Show” in the 80s to her documentary vehicle “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” Rivers broke ground for comics both male and female — and pulled no punches with her salacious pop culture commentary, open-book style of self-deprecating humor and raucous wit.
Born in 1933 Brooklyn as Joan Alexandra Molinsky, Rivers was, to put it lightly, a workhorse, and though divisive in Hollywood, she was fearless and an utter original. She even wrote and directed 1978 feature comedy “Rabbit Test” starring Billy Crystal as a pregnant man, and has appeared more recently on such shows as “Louie,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Hot in Cleveland.”
Read The Hollywood Reporter’s obit here, and watch clips from her illustrious career below. She certainly did not waste her life.