Joan Rivers was a kick-ass lady, plain and simple. She was a fierce, funny, vibrant, self-deprecating, brilliant comedienne who knew where all the lines in taste were and precisely when and where to jump right over them. And sadly she's no longer with us.
Rivers passed away today, one week after suffering cardiac arrest during a routine procedure on her vocal chords. She was surrounded by her family and friends, as revealed by her daughter Melissa Rivers, who issued the following statement.
“She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother. Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated. 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.”
Most of Rivers' career was not spent in movies (her most memorable silver screen contribution is playing Dot Matrix in Spaceballs), rather as a stand-up comedienne performing both on TV and in nightclubs all over the country. In the last two decades or so she's been most closely associated with her over-the-top fashion critiques of red-carpet award ceremonies, which were great entertainment even if you didn't care a bit about actual fashion, but it's important to remember that she was trailblazing on the comedy scene for decades before networks like E! even existed.
If you haven't seen the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (currently on Netflix Watch Instantly), we highly, highly recommend you do. It really shows just how fearless this feisty lady was throughout her career, which had as many highs as it did lows. We also highly recommend you seek out her episode of Louie, which is poignant and brave and a fitting send-off for one of the funniest, toughest ladies show business has ever known.
For a great example of just how brash but sincere Joan Rivers could be, here she is scolding Oprah for gaining weight.
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