Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, was placed in a medically induced coma at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan yesterday after going into cardiac arrest during a routine endoscopy to check her vocal cords at the nearby Yorkville Clinic on East 93rd St. According to sources, Rivers was under sedation at the time, when she stopped breathing. She was immediately transported to the hospital, where she was listed in critical condition, but is now said to be “stable and resting comfortably.”
After flying in from California to be by her side Rivers’s daughter Melissa, 46 and grandson Cooper, 13, released a statement thanking everyone for their support and asked them to keep Joan in their thoughts and prayers.
Among the celebrities who have sent her “virtual hugs” were musical director Paul Shaffer who tweeted, “Joan you’re one hell of a gal who can shake it off,” and TV daytime host Kelly Ripa who wrote “Praying for the great @JoanRivers one of the true loves of my life.”
A native New Yorker, Rivers had dreamed of a theatrical career, but soon found that comedy was a way to pay her bills. After “proving” herself in comedy clubs, her big break came when she was invited to appear on the “Tonight Show” by Johnny Carson in 1965, where she became a fixture until leaving for her own show. It was said that Carson never forgave her or spoke to her again after that. She later won an Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 1990.
Known for her brash and often crass barbs, Rivers has remained active, including her duties as co-host of E’s “Fashion Police,” and frequent appearances at various Hollywood events, with her daughter. In fact, was scheduled to perform at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ tonight. The show, of course, has been cancelled.
In addition, it was noted that he had just appeared at an employee event at Time, Inc. the day before her procedure, where online project manager Shira Blum said she “appeared healthy, practically jogging when she walked in to take her seat.”