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Dot Matrix's Voice Deactivated—Joan Rivers Dies at 81

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The queen of stand-up comedy, Joan Rivers passed away today, after going into cardiac arrest and then into a coma, about a week ago (August 28th), during what was supposed to be a routine procedure. So why is the NY Sci-Fi Examiner writing about this, you ask.

Well it's no secret that Joan Rivers (born Joan Molinsky) was a native New Yorker. She was born in Brooklyn and later moved to Larchmont with her family. Even when she hit it big, Joan maintained an apartment in Manhattan for decades. So her connection to New York is indisputable.

In addition to her work as a comedian, Joan was an author, filmmaker and savvy business woman. She also made a contribution to sci-fi, as the voice of Dot Matrix, the female robot in the Mel Brooks sci-fi film parody, Space Balls (Matrix was an obvious spoof of Star Wars droid C-3PO, who was shall we say, less than butch).

Rivers got her big break in show business in 1965, when Johnny Carson invited her on as a guest on The Tonight Show. Rivers frequently appeared on The Tonight Show, even filling in for Carson on many occasions. By the 1980's Rivers' career was smoking hot. She had a hit late night talk show, a hit comedy record out and her catch phrase, "Can we talk?" was a national sensation. So it was no surprise that Brooks cast Rivers as the voice of Dot Matrix— after all, who better than Rivers to inject a zippy one-liner throughout the film.

Space Balls came out in 1987, and parodied not only Star Wars, but Alien, Star Trek, 2001, Planet of the Apes, and a host of other sci-fi films. The film was not a hit when it came out—in fact, it only pulled in around $38 million at the box office (the budget was about $22 million), but over the years it's audience has grown and it's considered somewhat of a cult classic.

Rivers died today, from complications during a procedure on her vocal cords at a clinic in Manhattan. The NYC Medical Examiner's Office has announced that it will be investigating the cause and manner of Rivers death. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers said in a statement today, "My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."

My thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Rivers' family.

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