Joan Rivers, the legendary comedian best known for her biting quips and fashion prowess, has died today (September 4) according to the AP. She was 81.
Rivers was undergoing throat surgery at a clinic on August 28 when she reportedly stopped breathing and suffered a cardiac arrest. After being taken by ambulance to Mount Sinai hospital in New York, and listed in critical condition, she was placed in a medically induced coma on life support.
Born in Brooklyn in 1933, Rivers first came to prominence with her appearances filling in for host Jack Paar on “The Tonight Show.” This kicked off a lifetime of talk show appearances, and her own hosting gigs, including “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers” and “The Joan Rivers Show.”
In 1994, Rivers began co-hosting E!’s live coverage of red carpet events with her daughter Melissa, which became a mainstay of the award show experience and appointment viewing in its own right. By 2010, Rivers was hosting “Fashion Police” for the channel, a show whose future is left in doubt after today’s events.
Never one to shy away from a joke, Rivers often came under fire for cracks about singer Adele’s weight, the Holocaust, and more. Still, Rivers also knew how to take a joke, as she was roasted on Comedy Central in 2009, and appeared in a self-mocking appearance as herself on FX’s “Louie.”
In a statement released by Melissa Rivers, the comedian’s daughter said, “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.”