Comedy Legend Joan Rivers Dead at 81

Global Green USA's 11th Annual Pre-Oscar Party - Red Carpet

Legendary female comic and Emmy-winning TV host Joan Rivers has died after suffering complications from throat surgery last week. She was 81.

Rivers quickly found fame during the 1960s and 70s by performing standup comedy on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, while also making appearances on The Carol Burnett Show and Hollywood Squares. In the early 80s, Rivers was  a guest host for her mentor and good friend Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, and she also found success with the start of her own daytime program back in 1989, The Joan Rivers Show, which won her a Daytime Emmy in 1990 and ran until 1994.

In more recent years, Rivers has appeared on TV series, such as Nip/Tuck, Louie, and Hot in Cleveland. She also won NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice in 2009, endured a Comedy Central roast from her friends and co-workers during the same year, and starred with her daughter, Melissa, in their own mother-daughter reality series for WE tv, Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?

However, perhaps what has given Rivers the most notoriety recently has been co-hosting of E!’s Fashion Police, a position she took in 2002. Alongside her fellow co-hosts, Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos, Rivers stuck out due to her brash, un-PC type humor about celebrities and their red carpet looks, which she received some criticism for in the past. A 2010 documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, chronicles Rivers’ frank and unfiltered sense of humor but also her tremendous work ethic.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,” Melissa Rivers said in a statement released today. “She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. 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.”

Melissa Rivers’ statement continues, saying that she and her son, Copper, Joan Rivers’ grandson, “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.”

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for GLOBAL GREEN USA

Chris is the Managing Editor of TVOvermind. A graduate of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where he majored in English and Film, he has been writing for TVOvermind for over two years and has written about several different television shows, such as New Girl, Breaking Bad, Glee, and Homeland. Contact him through Twitter (@ckinger13) or email (
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