Photo Credit: PR Photos
The classic and controversial comedian and fashion icon passed away at age 81.
Joan Rivers, a household name when it came to fashion, entertainment and good ol' puns, recently had a throat operation in New York City where she suffered from complications. Her daughter Melissa Rivers released a statement on the death of her mother.
"It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother. She passed peacefully at 1:17pm 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."
The famous co-host of E! TV show Fashion Police had been hard at work up to the night before the surgery, attending a Q&A event, greeting fans and then taking the stage to perform stand-up comedy.
She had also recently critiqued looks from the MTV Video Music Awards and the Emmys.
Her career kicked off in 1965 when she came on as a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Their chemistry on air together went over so well that she was named a permanent guest host in 1983.
Rivers' rise on television and as a comedian was unique for her time.
"When I started out, a pretty girl did not go into comedy. If you saw a pretty girl walk into a nightclub, she was automatically a singer. Comedy was all white, older men," Rivers wrote in 2012. "I didn’t even want to be a comedian. Nobody wanted to be a comedian!"
When she went to rival program The Late Show, a tense rift occurred between her and Carson. She would go on to break television rules and gender roles, and then head to the red carpet to ask the now infamous question, "Who are you wearing?"
Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa became a dynamic duo on the red carpet starting in 1994 when they hosted the E! pre-awards for the Golden Globes. The following year when they co-hosted red carpet coverage for E! during the Academy Awards, they solidified their place in fashion and entertainment.
Her most current and well-known work has been co-hosting Fashion Police with Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos. She was also recently promoting her new book, Diary of a Mad Diva.
Rivers advice to those seeking a career as a funny woman, or man? It rings true today and onward.
"If there is a secret to being a comedian, it's just loving what you do. It is my drug of choice. I don't need real drugs. I don't need liquor. It's the joy that I get performing. That is my rush. I get it nowhere else.
What pleasure you feel when you've kept people happy for an hour and a half. They've forgotten their troubles. It's great. There's nothing like it in the world."
Joan did it well, with wit and glamour. Our thoughts go out to her friends and family.