72 Facts About Joan Rivers


Joan Alexandra Molinsky, known professionally as Joan Rivers, was a comedian, actress, producer, writer and television host.


Joan Rivers was noted for her blunt, often controversial comedic persona that was heavily self-deprecating and acerbic, especially towards celebrities and politicians, delivered in her signature New York accent.


Joan Rivers is considered a pioneer of women in comedy.


Joan Rivers then rose to prominence in 1965 as a guest on The Tonight Show.


In 1986, with her own rival program, The Late Show with Joan Rivers, Rivers became the first woman to host a late night network television talk show.


Joan Rivers subsequently hosted The Joan Rivers Show, winning a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host.


In 2009, Joan Rivers competed alongside her daughter Melissa on the second season of The Celebrity Apprentice, ultimately winning the season.


In 2015, Joan Rivers posthumously received a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for her book, Diary of a Mad Diva.


Joan Rivers is the subject of the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.


Joan Rivers spent her early life in Prospect Heights and Crown Heights in Brooklyn.


Joan Rivers attended the progressive and now-defunct Brooklyn Ethical Culture School and Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn, a college preparatory day school, where she was co-chairman of her school, due to her past experiences in theatrical activities.


Joan Rivers graduated from the Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn, in 1951, at 18.


Joan Rivers stated in interviews that she was overweight throughout her childhood and adolescence and that it had a profound impact on her body image, which she struggled with throughout her life.


Joan Rivers matriculated at Connecticut College; it was a family legacy to attend the institution, as her sister had done.


Joan Rivers performed in numerous comedy clubs in the Greenwich Village area of New York City in the early 1960s, including The Bitter End, The Gaslight Cafe and The Duplex.


Joan Rivers became friends with her fellow Greenwich Village comedians Woody Allen and George Carlin and often ate with them.


Joan Rivers describes working in the Village alongside noted musicians Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon and Simon and Garfunkel.


Joan Rivers showed up with a [Republican Senate nominee Kenneth] Keating button on.


Joan Rivers made an appearance as a guest on the television program The Tonight Show originating from New York, hosted at the time by Jack Paar.


Joan Rivers credited this episode to be her breakthrough, as Carson said to her on the air "you're gonna be a star".


Joan Rivers wrote material for the puppet mouse Topo Gigio.


Joan Rivers had a brief role in the cult drama film The Swimmer, starring Burt Lancaster, and at the time, she had a short-lived syndicated daytime talk show, That Show with Joan Rivers, which premiered on September 16,1968.


Each episode had a theme and Joan Rivers did an opening monologue based on the day's topic, followed by celebrity interviews.


Joan Rivers made her Broadway debut in the play Fun City, which opened on January 2,1972, and co-starred Gabriel Dell, Rose Marie and Paul Ford.


In 1973, Joan Rivers co-wrote the made-for-television movie The Girl Most Likely To.


The film, based on Joan Rivers' story, became a ratings success and has been considered a "cult classic".


Joan Rivers wrote a thrice-weekly column for The Chicago Tribune from 1973 to 1976, and published her first book, Having a Baby Can Be a Scream, in 1974; she described it as a "catalogue of gynaecological anxieties".


In 1978, Joan Rivers made her directorial debut with the comedy Rabbit Test, which she wrote and which starred her friend Billy Crystal in his film debut as the world's first pregnant man.


Joan Rivers later wrote her next book, Enter Talking, which was released in 1986, and described her rise to stardom and the evolution of her comedic persona.


The soon-to-launch Fox Television Network announced that it was giving her a late night talk show, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, making Rivers the first woman to have her own late-night talk show on a major network.


Joan Rivers was banned from ever appearing on The Tonight Show for the rest of Carson's tenure and the entire runs of Carson's first two successors Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien out of respect for Carson.


Joan Rivers did not appear on The Tonight Show again until February 17,2014, when she made a brief appearance on new host Jimmy Fallon's first episode.


On March 27,2014, Joan Rivers returned to the show for an interview.


The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers premiered on October 9,1986, and soon turned out to be flecked with tragedy.


When Joan Rivers challenged Fox executives, who wanted to fire her husband Edgar Rosenberg as the show's producer, the network fired them both on May 15,1987.


Joan Rivers credited Nancy Reagan with helping her after her husband's suicide.


Joan Rivers subsequently appeared on various television shows, including the Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special in December 1989.


On September 5,1989, The Joan Rivers Show, her daytime television program, premiered in broadcast syndication.


The sales of Joan Rivers' products exceeded $1 billion by 2014, making her one of the network's top sellers.


Joan Rivers was nominated for a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Actress in a Play and a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for playing Marr.


Between 2002 and 2004, she embarked on tour with her one-person comedy show Joan Rivers: Broke and Alone, which was presented in the United Kingdom and in the United States, to generally positive reviews.


The Telegraph felt that her "hilarious assaults on fellow celebrities and tirades about the perils of ageing and plastic surgery are well worth the expense", while The Guardian remarked that "Joan Rivers returned triumphant, a victorious heavyweight after a great fight, conscious that she is still the champion".


In 2003, Joan Rivers left the network red-carpet show for a three-year contract to cover award shows' red carpet events for the TV Guide Channel.


In 2004, Joan Rivers was part of the formal receiving party when Ronald Reagan was placed in state at the United States Capitol.


On December 3,2007, Joan Rivers performed at the 79th Royal Variety Show at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, England, with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip present.


Joan Rivers wrote and starred in the play Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress, which was directed by Sean Foley, and presented through 2008 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Leicester Square Theatre, to a mixed critical reception.


In 2008, Joan Rivers was invited to take part in a comedy event celebrating Prince Charles' 60th Birthday titled, We Are Most Amused.


Joan Rivers was the only American alongside Robin Williams invited to take part in the event.


Joan Rivers later returned to the show and on May 3,2009, she became a finalist in the series.


The program, which ran for two seasons, followed Joan Rivers traveling around the United States interviewing self-made millionaires.


Joan Rivers wrote two books in 2009: Murder at the Academy Awards : A Red Carpet Murder Mystery and Men Are Stupid.


Joan Rivers handcuffed herself to a shopping cart and shouted through a megaphone.


Joan Rivers released her 12th book, Diary of a Mad Diva, on July 1,2014, which made The NY Times Best Seller list.


Joan Rivers supplied the revelation that personal truth can be the foundation of comedy, that outrageousness can be cleansing and healthy.


Joan Rivers did stints in the Catskills and found that she disliked the older style of comedy at the time, such as Phyllis Diller's, who she nevertheless felt was a pioneer female comedian.


Joan Rivers's breakthrough came at The Second City in Chicago in 1961, where she was dubbed "the best girl since Elaine May", who got her start there.


Joan Rivers broke through long-standing taboos in humor, which paved the way for other women, including Roseanne Barr, Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell.


Joan Rivers was one of only four Americans invited to the Wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles on April 9,2005.


Joan Rivers was licensed to carry a gun in New York City.


Joan Rivers was threatened with the loss of the license after an altercation with a car rental clerk in 2002.


Joan Rivers had one grandson, Cooper, born Edgar Cooper Endicott in 2000.


Joan Rivers supported Guide Dogs for the Blind, a non-profit organization which provides guide dogs to blind people.


Joan Rivers donated to Jewish charities, animal welfare efforts, and suicide prevention causes.


Joan Rivers was open about her multiple cosmetic surgeries and had been a patient of plastic surgeon Steven Hoefflin since 1983.


Joan Rivers had her nose thinned while still at college; her next procedure, an eye lift, was performed in 1965 as an attempt to further her career.


Some of Joan Rivers' ashes were scattered by her daughter in Wyoming.


On January 26,2015, Melissa Joan Rivers filed a malpractice lawsuit against the clinic and the doctors who performed surgery on her mother.


When Stern spoke at the funeral, he began the eulogy with, "Joan Rivers had a dry vagina", a joke that was intended, and reportedly received by guests, as a humorous honoring of Rivers' comedic sensibility.


Sarah Silverman paid tribute to Joan Rivers while hosting Saturday Night Live; in one sketch, she portrayed Joan Rivers in Heaven.


Long-time friend, comedian, fellow talk show hostess and television personality Whoopi Goldberg tweeted: "My friend Joan Rivers has passed away".


Political figures giving tribute to Joan Rivers included former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who said she was one of the "funniest people I ever knew".


Joan Rivers is considered a pioneer of women in comedy by many critics and journalists.