comedy actress, TV host
June 08, 1933 - September 04, 2014
Joan Rivers (born Joan Alexander Kolinsky) was a popular American comedy actress, a star television host with several acclaimed shows, a couple of records, multiple audio recordings, as well as with more than 60 years of entertaining American audiences of all ages, political leanings and ethnicities under her belt.
Joan Rivers – The Queen of humor and American TV Legend
Joan Rivers was born to the family of Jewish immigrants from Russia, Beatrice and Mayer Molinsky, in Brooklyn, New York. Despite receiving excellent education, with a B.A. in English literature and anthropology from Barnard College, she had a hard time finding her career path. She tried the job of a museum guide, a copywriter, and even a fashion consultant!
Finally, in late 50s she managed to get into the play Driftwood, starring Barbara Streisand: after playing a comical role she decided to dedicate herself to comedy. She started from standup comedy in Manhattan bars, earning the hearts of the local audience and then got on television - to The Tonight Show with the original host, Jack Paar.
In the very beginning of her career, her agent Tony Rivers told the girl that, to succeed in show business, she would have to change her last name or take up a pseudonym. Without thinking twice, she used his last name as her pseudonym.
Joan's first marriage in 1955 went out with a bang after just half a year: at her request, a court annulled her marriage to James Sanger because the husband had never wanted or planned to have children, but failed to inform his future wife about this small fact...
Rivers' sparkling humor and her unique ability to captivate audience before the blue screen allowed the comic to create her own talk show That Show with Joan Rivers and record several successful humor audio albums in late 60s and 70s. She appeared in many television programs, performed on concerts by music stars, starred in films and even wrote scripts for movies - all in all, she was living a full life, using the whole multitude of her talents 100 percent!
Plastic surgeries she underwent became a favorite subject of mass media reports; she went under the knife in ca. 1965, in an attempt to preserve her good looks. She even published a book on plastic surgery and how a woman can use its results!
She became a close friend of Johnny Carson, the original host of the extremely popular late night show The Tonight Show in the 80s. SHe used to call him her creative father, often appeared as a guest of the show and invited Carson to her programs.
Their relations became sour in 1986, when Joan accepted an invitation from Fox to become the host of the new late night show The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers (it was thanks to this show, that Rivers became the first ever woman hosting her own talk show) and, as a result, became a direct competitor to her mentor. The former friends split: it would be many years before they started talking to each other again.
The ill fated show cost Joan not only her best friend but her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, who was the producer of the show. Rosenberg confronted the bosses of Fox, with Joan lending her support, and the unexpected result was the firing of them both! Edgar could not stand the humiliation and committed suicide...
Rivers constantly explored new creative directions: she went - quite successfully - into fashion business, even launching her own fashion line, became a co-host of fashion shows on Е! Entertainment, including Fashion Police, and took part in varied reality shows. This brought her favor of mainstream audiences and helped launch the career of her daughter Melissa Rivers, who often appears on the screen with her mother. In addition, Joan published a number of autobiographic books, as well as comedy stories and guides.
In August 2014, during a throat surgery, Joan went into cardiac arrest. She was brought to Mount Sinai Hospital, put into induced coma and later - on life support. On September 4 Melissa Rivers announced that her mother had died...
Pfefferman, Naomi (December 27, 2007). "Joan Rivers’ ‘Life’—audacious, as always|Arts In L.A.". Jewish Journal.
"Joan Rivers Biography – Facts, Birthday, Life Story". The Biography Channel.