Joan Rivers, the blunt, tart-tongued celebrity and talk show host who reconstructed her career time and time again en route to becoming one of the most memorable female comics of all time, has died. She was 81.
The breakthrough standup comic, writer, actress, fashion critic, red-carpet doyenne, gossip and businesswoman died Thursday at 1:17 p.m. local time at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, her daughter Melissa announced.
She was rushed there Aug. 28 and placed on life support after she suffered from respiratory and cardiac arrest during surgery on her vocal cords in a doctor’s office.Can we talk? Starting out as a gag writer, the Brooklyn native poked fun at her fondness for plastic surgery, never pulled a punch in a bid for a laugh and insulted just about everyone — no one was off-limits — to forge an impressive, and somewhat notorious, show business legacy.
Johnny Carson designated her as the first permanent guest host for The Tonight Show, and she stood in for him from 1983-86. But when Rivers signed with the then-fledgling Fox network to host The Late Show — a groundbreaking move for a woman — and thus go opposite Carson, he considered it an act of betrayal and refused to speak to her again.