Joan Rivers, trailblazer, comedy legend, actress, author, and red carpet critic died earlier today at the age of 81. The comedian, who seemed to never age or lose her stamina after fifty years in the entertainment business, had recently been in for a routine surgical procedure (nope, not plastic surgery either) where she stopped breathing at the doctor's office. She suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest the New York Fire Department said.
Rivers' daughter Melissa made this statement shortly after her mother's death.
It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17pm surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother. Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated.'
'My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," Melissa Rivers said. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."
Born in 1933, Joan Rivers made her big break after appearing on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson' and has adapted better to the changing times and tastes of her fans more than Madonna. She started our with fellow comics Woody Allen, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Rodney Dangerfield and Dick Cavett.
“Everybody broke through ahead of me,” she said in interviews. “I was the last one in the group to break through, or to be allowed to break through. Looking back, I think it was because I was a woman. Because in those days, they would come down to the Village and look at you for Johnny Carson. I was the very last one of the group they put on the Carson show.”
She was the rare talent that was never afraid to speak her mind which only endeared to new generations of fans over the decades. She never seemed to sit still and after stumbling with her own talk show on the fledgling FOX network back in the 1980's (which ended her personal friendship Johnny Carson), she went on to win a Daytime Emmy in 1990 for her own self-titled talk show. From there, she hit the red carpet with a tongue lashing never seen before while hosting E!'s pre-awards shows.
After being the subject of the documentary 'Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work', she won a season on Donald Trump's 'Celebrity Apprentice' which brought her a new legion of fans who helped boost ratings for her reality show 'Joan and Melissa' on WeTV. Her non-stop career also included co-hosting E!'s 'Fashion Police' with Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos.
Rivers stirred up the news a walking off a news interview while promoting her final book 'Diary of a Mad Diva' this past July. She was a trailblazer comic for talent such as Kathy Griffin, and there is truly not another one like her to fill those funny, tongue lashing shoes.