Joan Rivers

Joan Alexandra Molinsky
June 8, 1933
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died September 4, 2014 (aged 81)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Cardiac arrest
Occupation Actress, comedian, writer, producer, television host
Years active 1959–2014
Home town Larchmont, New York, U.S.
Religion Reform Judaism
Spouses James Sanger (m. 1955; annulled 1955)
Edgar Rosenberg (m. 1965; died 1987)
Children Melissa Rivers
Comedy career
Medium Stand-up comedy, film, television, theatre, books
Genres Observational comedy, insult comedy, shock humor, black comedy, ribaldry, improvisational comedy
Influences Lenny Bruce, Phyllis Diller, Sophie Tucker, Pearl Williams, Belle Barth, Totie Fields, Johnny Carson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bob Newhart, Woody Allen, Don Rickles
Influenced Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, Kathy Griffin, Amy Schumer Chelsea Handler, Roseanne Barr, Greg Proops
Joan Alexandra Molinsky (June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014), known as Joan Rivers, was an American actress, comedian, writer, producer, and television host noted for her often controversial comedic persona—where she was alternately self-deprecating or sharply acerbic, especially toward celebrities and politicians.

Rivers came to prominence in 1965 as a guest on The Tonight Show. Hosted by her mentor, Johnny Carson, the show established Rivers’ comedic style. In 1986, with her own rival program, The Late Show with Joan Rivers, Rivers became the first woman to host a late night network television talk show. She subsequently hosted The Joan Rivers Show (1989–1993), winning a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. In her later years, Rivers was particularly known for conducting comedic interviews with celebrities as they walked the red carpet at awards shows. From 2010 to 2014 Rivers co-hosted the E! celebrity fashion show Fashion Police. Rivers starred in reality series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?, from 2011 to 2014, with daughter Melissa Rivers. She was the subject of the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010).

Rivers released numerous comedy albums, and she was nominated in 1984 for a Grammy Award for her album What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most? Rivers was nominated in 1994 for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance of the title role in Sally Marr…and Her Escorts. In 2015, Rivers posthumously received a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for her book, Diary of a Mad Diva.

Rivers authored 12 best-selling memoir and humor books. Rivers marketed a line of jewelry and apparel on the QVC shopping channel. In 1968, The New York Times television critic Jack Gould called Rivers “quite possibly the most intuitively funny woman alive”.

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