Joan Rivers, Pioneering Female Comic, Dies At 81
September 4, 2014 at 4:55 PM (PT)
JOAN RIVERS, the self-deprecating, pioneering female stand-up comic and indefatigable fashion kibbitzer, who popularized the expression, "Can we talk?," died at 81, according to her daughter MELISSSA RIVERS.
RIVERS, who hosted a syndicated radio show for WOR RADIO NETWORKS and WOR-A/NEW YORK among her many career achievements, was undergoing a routine operation on her vocal cords at a clinic in NEW YORK CITY on AUGUST 28th when she stopped breathing and was transported to MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL.
"My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," MELISSA RIVERS said in a statement. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."
RIVERS reinvented herself several times in her show business career, as a result of her tireless work ethic, which she credited to her "immigrant mentality."
RIVERS' comedy always pushed the envelope until the end, mercilessly mocking celebrities, but just as often, herself.
"I mock everybody, regardless of race, creed or color," she told the TORONTO STAR earlier this summer. "Every joke I make, no matter how tasteless, is there to draw attention to something I really care about."
RIVERS was famous for teasing her own forays into plastic surgery. She said her grandson "calls me Nana New Face. And when he was younger, the joke was he had never seen me without bandages. So one time, we saw 'The Return of the Mummy,' and he ran to the TV set and he went, 'Grandma, Grandma.'"
JOAN worked until the end, manning the red carpets for the MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS and the EMMYS last month and was scheduled to appear at the COUNT BASIE THEATRE in RED BANK, NJ on AUGUST 29th.
MUSIC BUSINESS ASSOCIATION Pres. JAMES DONIO offered the following:
“JOAN RIVERS was without question a trailblazer for comediennes. In fact, she was one of the very few comediennes who ever performed at the NARM Convention. In 1983, when JOAN was promoting her GRAMMY-nominated album, What Becomes Semi-Legend Most?, she headlined our 25th Anniversary Awards Banquet in MIAMI. Personally, she was my favorite comedienne. And I will never forget when I met her by chance when she was shopping for furniture for her daughter MELISSA’s dorm room in PHILADELPHIA about 25 years ago. She was naturally funny and so gracious and I have always treasured the autograph she gave me. The world will not laugh as much or as hard without JOAN in our lives. I know I won’t. I extend my heartfelt condolences to MELISSA and their family and friends.”