Joan Rivers — who made the world laugh for over 50 years with her jokes, put-downs and one-liners — has died in NYC … a week after her heart suddenly stopped beating during vocal cord surgery.
She was 81.
Joan’s daughter Melissa Rivers took her mom off life support so she could pass comfortably in a private room.
Rivers is widely credited for opening doors for countless female comediennes. She broke through in a big way during her appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.
She also famously enraged Carson by accepting a gig to host a competing late night show on FOX. Carson never spoke to her again.
Rivers was born in 1933 — she worked as a writer and fashion consultant before entering show biz as a stand-up comic in the early ’60s. She was famously self-deprecating … often self-critical of her looks and her marriage to Edgar Rosenberg … who committed suicide in 1987.
Joan’s late ’80s FOX show tanked, which somewhat derailed her career. It was resurrected in a big way in 2010 in the wake of the documentary “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.”
She was universally adored by fellow comedians, including fellow legend Don Rickles, who once said about her … “Joan is not only a very intelligent lady, but extremely masterful at comedy timing. Sharing the stage with her has always been a joy for me.”
Barbara Walters was asked about Joan last year, saying … “I wouldn’t dare to try to be funny about Joan Rivers because she is the smartest, best-informed and funniest woman I know.”
Joan and her daughter Melissa began working as a team hosting various red carpet and fashion shows on E! and other networks, including “Fashion Police.”
Joan’s credits could fill a book … including appearances in “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Hollywood Squares,” “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” “Celebrity Apprentice,” “Saturday Night Live” … and on and on.