Comedienne Joan Rivers passed away earlier today at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, after going into cardiac arrest following a medical procedure. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, confirmed her mother's death with the following statement.
"She passed peacefully at 1:17 PM 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."
Last Thursday, Joan Rivers underwent a minor endoscopic procedure to check her vocal chords, when she went into cardiac arrest at an Upper East Side New York clinic. She was then rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where she was put into a medically-induced coma. The actress and comedian was moved from the intensive care unit to a private room yesterday.
Joan Rivers was born Joan Alexandra Molinsky on June 8, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating with a degree in English and social anthropology from Connecticut College for Women and Barnard, she became a fashion coordinator for a retail clothing chain, before laying the groundwork for her comedy career, playing clubs in Greenwich Village and the Catskills. She rose to prominence as a comedian with an edgy brand of humor in the 1960s, working as a writer for Candid Camera while also writing jokes for top comics such as Phyllis Diller, Bob Newhart and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Her appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson helped launch her career, as she was named permanent replacement host for Johnny Carson. She also recorded a number of comedy albums while making appearances in a handful of movies such as The Swimmer and Rabbit Test, which she also wrote and directed. A setback in her career came with The Late Show with Joan Rivers, which the fledgling Fox network launched in 1987. The show effectively put an end to her friendship with Johnny Carson, and it was cancelled shortly thereafter.
She became a fixture on the E! Network in the mid-1990s, covering red carpet events with her daughter Melissa Rivers, which lead to her hosting Fashion Police on E! after a brief stint at TV Guide. Joan Rivers is survived by her daughter and grandson, Cooper.