Legendary comedienne Joan Rivers dies at 81

Joan Rivers, the groundbreaking comic known for her quick wit and tough talk, died Thursday, her daughter, Melissa Rivers, confirmed. She was 81.

Rivers passed away in a private room at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She was admitted to the hospital one week ago after she went into cardiac arrest following complications from vocal chord surgery. She was on life support until her passing.

Rivers, who has been delighting fans for the past four years with her no-nonsense commentary on celebrity fashion as the host of E!'s "Fashion Police," was a force to be reckoned with in the comedy industry and opened doors for many female comics over her 50-year career.

The Brooklyn-born entertainer, whose birth name was Joan Alexandra Molinsky, jumpstarted her illustrious career performing at comedy clubs, including The Bitter End and The Gaslight Café, in New York City before scoring a regular gig on "Candid Camera."

Her funny chops later earned her the praise of Johnny Carson, who asked her to appear on "The Tonight Show" in 1965.

Following her performance, Carson commented, "God, you're funny. You're going to be a star." His words proved to be correct and Rivers regularly guest-hosted Carson's show and called him her biggest mentor.

Rivers continued to appear on talk and variety shows throughout her career and launched her first talk show "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers" on Fox in 1986 with the help of her television producer husband, Edgar Rosenberg. The show failed after one year and her husband, with whom she shared daughter, Melissa Rivers, was found dead of suicide shortly after. Rivers never remarried.

Despite her bumps in the road, Rivers was undeterred and continued to gain national acclaim.
She hosted another show, "The Joan Rivers Show," which earned her a Daytime Emmy Award in 1990.

Rivers is survived by her daughter and "Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?" co-star, Melissa Rivers, and her grandson, Edgar Cooper Endicott.

Her wit, cynicism, and wisecracks will certainly be missed.

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