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September 04, 2014

Comedy Pioneer Joan Rivers Dies

Comedienne, talk show host and fashion critic Joan Rivers died September 4 after reportedly losing consiousness during a medical procedure.

Juliana Bolden
  • Joan Rivers

  • Joan Rivers with daughter Melissa Rivers

New York, NY — Comedienne, talk show host and fashion critic Joan Rivers died Thursday, September 3, at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.

She had been on life support since reportedly losing consiousness and going into cardiac and respiratory arrest on August 28, while undergoing a minor procedure on her vocal cords at the Yorkville Endoscopy clinic. 

Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, announced in statement that her mother passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and friends.

""My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," Melissa said. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."

Since 2010, Rivers had served as host of popular E! Entertainment series Fashion Police since 2010, alternately skewering and applauding the wardrobe choices of stars from all walks of Hollywood life with her panel of style critics.

Television fans first met the New York native in 1965 as guest on The Tonight Show. Soon enough the lady widely known for her distinctive rasp — and memorable, pointed way of asking audiences "Can we talk?" — emerged as one of Johnny Carson’s regular guests and later became his substitute host on the program. 

For decades, she blazed a trail scores of women like Sandra Bernhard, Sarah Silverman and many more in the male-dominated bastion of stand-up comedy specifically — and the entertainment industry in general. 

For more about the Brooklyn, New York, native in her own words, watch Joan Rivers' in-depth interview with the Archive of American Television here at's sister site 


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