Legendary Comic, Joan Rivers, died today in Manhattan at 81. Read the entire obituary at The New York Times.
Joan Rivers, the raspy loudmouth who pounced on America’s obsessions with flab, face-lifts, body hair and other blemishes of neurotic life, including her own, in five decades of caustic comedy that propelled her from nightclubs to television to international stardom, died on Thursday in Manhattan. She was 81.
Ms. Rivers died at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she was taken last Thursday after reportedly losing consciousness while undergoing a procedure on her vocal cords at a doctor’s office on the Upper East Side. Doctors at the hospital placed her in a medically induced coma.
Joan had a reputation for humor that could be abrasive and mean spirited. But to those folks who reacted negatively to her aggressively unpc sensibility, she would say, “Grow up!”
Joan told jokes her way, and without apology. Although I didn’t always care for her in-your-face humor, I have ALWAYS admired her work ethic. Joan worked literally up until the day she died. She had many setbacks, including the end of her friendship with mentor, Johnny Carson, after she left NBC for FOX to be the first woman ever to host a late night talk show.
Not long after the show failed, Joan’s beloved husband committed suicide. She had years where she couldn’t find work. Nevertheless, she always plowed ahead, reinventing herself when necessary. Death was the only thing that would finally stop the indefatigable Joan Rivers. And if there’s a heaven, Joan is probably already working a room somewhere.
She was one of a kind. A trail blazer. Rest in peace, Joan.
Daughter, Melissa Rivers, released a statement to the press:
“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17 pm 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. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.”
Warm thoughts go out to Melissa and the rest of Joan’s friends and family.
A young Joan doing her thing on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1967
Here, she skewers gender roles and the unfair expectations society placed on women. Truly ahead of her time.