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Joan Rivers Dies At Age 81

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Today, what we had hoped would not come to pass, has sadly happened.  Joan Rivers has died at age 81.

In a written statement this afternoon from her daughter, Melissa Rivers, the media and fans around the world learned the heartbreaking news, “It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers.  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.”

Melissa Rivers added that she and her son, Cooper, who is Joan Rivers’ grandson, “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.”

Rivers, who co-hosted the popular E! TV show “Fashion Police,” had been hard at work recently, critiquing the outfits worn by stars at the MTV Video Music Awards and the Primetime Emmys with her usual flair.  On August 28th, she was in New York City having throat surgery when she suffered cardiac arrest.  She was rushed to the hospital, where she arrived unconscious and doctors kept her sedated. On September 2nd her daughter, Melissa Rivers, revealed that she had been placed on life support.

Joan’s career was remarkable, and she even won her one and only Daytime Emmy in 1990 as host of her own daytime talk show, The Joan Rivers Show.  Watch the winning moment when a trio of former All My Children favorites announce Joan as the winner and her acceptance speech after the jump! Then share your thoughts on the passing of the funny lady of them all, the incomparable Joan Rivers.

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Shayrebecca1Margie Rose DaltonJim NelsonTimmm Recent comment authors
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A Baptiste
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A Baptiste

Too sad for words, like a family member and kept me company many a sometimes wistful Friday night on Fashion Police, dare I say a guilty pleasure. It will be hard to laugh again, but she will “orchestrate” it for us from above. Joan Rivers, the woman and the concept is forever.

mmc
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mmc

This made me cry….She had many struggles in her life & never forgot that laughter was the best medicine ….I will miss this funny lady who could sometimes say the most outrageous things…even about herself….She was one in a million….She’ll live on forever in our hearts….RIP dear Joan….

Joe
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Joe

I remember this….made me cry then and it does now. I will miss you Joan. <3

Rapids
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Rapids

Rest in peace funny lady. She had a terrific life, great daughter and grandson and I hope she knew how much she was loved.

DaleReshotnik
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DaleReshotnik

I’m so saddened by the death of Joan Rivers!!! She was an AMAZING WOMAN & A GREAT COMEDIENNE!!!! RIP JOAN U WILL B GREATLY MISSED!!!! :'(:'(:'(:'(:'(

Fanny
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Fanny

Joan Rivers was the Grande Dame of comedy, she will be sorely missed.

Adam
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Adam

Very sad news, I loved Joan Rivers so much, she was a funny lady. I loved watching Joan on fashion police. Rip dear lady. I will miss Joan very much.

mike
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mike

Tough lady, a real trailblazer. You either loved her or hated her but you have to admit she was never phony. I’m sure she would have had some great lines about her sudden demise, she will be missed.

robert
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robert

so sad. Joan was one of the best

Mary SF
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Mary SF

I may not have always agreed with her humor, but I admired the lady greatly– she made a name of herself in a business when few or any females were allowed to trod. She handled personal tragedies with grace and that wit could cut you where you stood. And normally when we hear of someone that age passing on, we say they led a full rich life, and that’s true she did, but I suspect she could have gone on working for years to come. My prayers go out to all who knew and loved her.

Mark
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Mark

She was a riot and brightened up the day for me whatever I saw her in I shall miss her very much!

JustSaying
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JustSaying

Casey Kasem, Robin Williams, Joan Rivers.

Such a sad year.

Peace be with all of you.

jimh(leave it to beaver)
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jimh(leave it to beaver)

Another great loss…i wasnt a fan of hers back in the 60s but grew to like her in later years…sad!!!

kalamaty
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kalamaty

God speed, Joan. Thank you for an incredible career and for all of the laughter you gave each of us. You will be missed greatly!

Daisy Day
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Daisy Day

What an incredible person Joan was. She is in that great comedy club up in the clouds. RIP

k/kay
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k/kay

She paved the way for female comedians!

jaybird369
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jaybird369

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! It can’t be!!!!! Joan Rivers is now G-O-N-E!!!!! More and more, life can be so CRUEL!!!!! As a longtime fan of hers, I always thought that Joan would live FOREVER!!!!! My heart and all is BEYOND SADDENED by the news of Joan’s death. Joan was my ALL-TIME FAVORITE comedienne!!!!! As far as I’m concerned, Joan VERY BRILLIANTLY paved the way (or whatever) for other comediennes. BTW, my other 2 favorites are Lisa Lampanelli and Wendy Liebman. Yes. Thank you, Joan…thank you for giving us all YEAR AFTER YEAR of TRULY LOL comedy.… Read more »

Elite Advisors
Guest
Elite Advisors

Regardless of whether you liked her humor or perhaps did not care for it, she was a pioneer for women in the industry. I admire a person, at her age, 81 would keep up such a fast pace! She loved her work obviously…. and like all of us as we get older, strived to find a place in a new modern world and remain relevant in todays youthful society. She had her fill of heartbreak and pain in her personal life and I am so happy she and her daughter once again became close. I cannot imagine Joan would have… Read more »

Elite Advisors
Guest
Elite Advisors

On another note, one of her funniest jokes I have heard her tell about all the plastic surgery experiences was ” when I die they are going to donate my body to Tupperware from all the surgeries I have had!”

May that may be her opener in Heaven…. she and Robin Williams are having fun already.

Sedrick
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Sedrick

Will never forget this heartwrenching speech. Rest in peace Joan.

Ces
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Ces

RIP Joan. Sad ending for her; she had so much left in her still. very sad news.

Jared
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Jared

🙁 America has lost a comedic icon. Now Heaven is filled with laughter. We will rejoin you and enjoy your unparalleled talents in Heaven. Rest in peace, and God bless you and your family.

CeeCee
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CeeCee

May God keep your soul, Joan. I never missed an episode of FASHION POLICE, , waiting with bated breath what hilarity was going to come out of your mouth….I did not know you, Joan, but you will always remain a friend in spirit within my heart.
My condolences to Melissa and Cooper….your oh-so-loved mother/grandmother will always be your guardian angel…PEACE.

rebecca1
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rebecca1

I’m truly in shock…and very sad. And, to be honest, I didn’t even like much of her humor in the last few years. But she was a legend…she’s a part of my history, and like all “famous” people we don’t know personally, we feel like we do. When one’s own life is in chaos, when one loses people close to their heart…you still feel that those people we don’t know…yet somehow do…will always be there. And then they too…in a flash…are gone. Sigh…the human condition. I still feel that this was a case of something gone awry in the facility… Read more »

Gerry
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Gerry

I loved her morning talk show. While she’s most famous for the jokes she cracks about herself and other celebrities, I was moved by the empathy she showed for her guests, especially those facing real challenges.

Rodd
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Rodd

I remember when she played some sort of PR maven for Grant Harrison on ANOTHER WORLD. Funny stuff. Good memories.

aria
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aria

you always made me laugh Joan, and for that i thank you, my condolence to Melissa, your mother was one of a kind.

harry
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harry

Beautifully written, Michael Fairman. I am sorry for the loss of your dear friend, Joan.

I think for the rest of the month we should all say,”Oh Grow up!” when agitated or, “Can we talk?” when prefacing a gossipy subject.

Lew S.
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Lew S.

She was hilarious! I will miss her. My thoughts are with her family and friends.

wolfsmistress
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wolfsmistress

I’m probably one of the few on here who remembers seeing Joan Rivers come up alongside the likes of Phyllis Diller and Totie Fields on TV in the very early ’60s when women were VERY rarely seen in comedy roles (especially stand-up). These ladies helped blaze many trails for the women of today, and did it without foul language. Innuendo and a lot of “wink-wink” was the way to go, never a bad word. Nowadays you can curse on normal TV and no one thinks anything of it, but boy, the days of censors and what they did to the… Read more »

harry
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harry

Thank you, Wolfmistress. I enjoyed reading your comment very much.

Shay
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Shay

What sad, sad news….It’s truly incomprehensible that such a “larger than life” legend is now forever gone. Having grown up with Joan’s omnipresent, spot-on humor, it’s impossible for me to imagine a world without her ferociously funny force of nature in it, daring to say the things that most of us could only think….and keep to ourselves!!! Already the glaring absence of this delicious diva of derision and designer duds has made our foreseeable future a demonstrably less felicitous and fashionable place. However, the collective loss is but a mere fraction to that of Joan’s darling daughter (and grandson)…from one… Read more »

harry
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harry

Beautifully put, Shay.
I always thought of Edgar as Phyllis Diller’s “Fang.” I loved her too.

Shay
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Shay

Thank you, Harry! Not so much a fan of Phyllis, though. Although she was another pioneer comedienne extraordinaire and a fine woman, her witch-like cackling and bizarre ensembles put me off (actually gave me nightmares….) as a tot who was allowed to nod off to the sights and sounds of “The Tonight Show!” (And sometimes Dick Cavett or Joey Bishop, too….) Needless to say, I developed some rather sophisticated viewing habits far earlier than those in my comparative peer group, precocious child that I was.

Timmm
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Timmm

Maura West, I want a percentage of your salary! I am putting this out there for all to read, YOU would make a terrific Joan Rivers in a movie about her life. I couldnt stop thinking about you as I watched the tributes roll in on Ms. Rivers.

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

I think I saw a flash of “Ava” as well on one of the montages…but I actually think Sarah Silverman would be perfect to play Joan if they ever did a movie. If you look at early clips of Joan there is a certain facial likeness…

Timmm
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Timmm

You are right, Sarah does have the early look and could transform herself to look older and go blonde. You know there will a Lifetime movie in like two months!

rebecca1
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rebecca1

Ya; I think Sarah would be great…wouldn’t be surprised if they went with Kathy Griffin…she has the rasp!

Shay
Guest
Shay

While Silverman may possess a slight passing resemblance to “Miss Rivers,” it is a purely physical one. That revolting guttersnipe could never hope to capture the brilliance, talent or incredible life force that was “Joan,” and the same goes for others in the current crowd of crass comedic vulgarians (i.e. Griffin and Chelsea Handler, to name but a few….) who aren’t even worthy to shine the late self-deprecating diva’s designer chaussures. In spite of Joan’s well-publicized, wildly wicked wit and outrageously risqué routines, in her private life she was a highly intelligent, extremely refined and elegant woman with an exquisite… Read more »

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

Well, Shay…she’s been mourned, eulogized and cremated. Can we have your permission to discuss it now? As for Kathy and Sarah…Joan didn’t share your opinion of the two ladies. She was very close to both of them; she even took Kathy with her to a gala held by the Royal Family in England.

I doubt she would be as incensed as you seem to be. Fact, she might possibly have been quite thrilled with either choice, should, or should I say when…a movie on her life is made.

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

And by the way Shay…you might want to google In Bed With Joan…Sarah was her guest and it was a fun, warm interview…after which Joan kisses Sarah’s hand and says she loves her.

Just sayin’.

Shay
Guest
Shay

@rebecca1….I don’t dispute that Joan was both a gracious, charming hostess and warm, loving woman to many, many different types of people, particularly those of the generations that followed in her formidable footsteps…..she had a really eclectic collection of friends and associates, as witnessed by her funeral guest list. All I was saying is that there was so much more to this fascinating, cultured icon than the bold, bawdy stagecraft she presented to the world…for example, she graduated college Phi Beta Kappa, had a career in fashion prior to her groundbreaking foray into comedy and became a prolific writer and… Read more »

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

Shay…once again we’ll have to agree to disagree. Joan Rivers was a legend. Yes. She was also crude and a “potty mouth”…using your term regarding the other two comediennes I mentioned. Have you looked into their backgrounds to see if they’re educated? Do you assume that they’re not educated, refined…that they don’t write…on and on. I think it’s presumptuous and pretentious of you. Furthermore, taking Kathy to a gala presented by the Royal Family would indicate to me Joan had the highest regard for her…and in theinterview I watched (online) with Sarah…same thing. There have been bio movies made of… Read more »

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

And yet again another thought. Of alllllllll the people Melissa could have chosen, she chose the King of shock, crude, vulgar and actually compassionate and wonderful Howard Stern to do the eulogy. I think that says it all…

As for the timing of the discussion, I sincerely doubt Melissa Rivers will be reading these comments…LOL. I feel perfectly at peace with myself for responding to Timmm’s post.

Shay
Guest
Shay

Well, we can at least concur that Joan’s was a senseless and perhaps, avoidable demise, rebecca1!!!! Even now that the initial shock is over, I am still truly saddened over the loss of this great comedic legend. I am not reluctant to admit it really gave me considerable pause….and I’m not usually one to mourn celebs or notables. The public deaths that have resonated with me are quite few and far between….I recall feeling so bad when Farrah Fawcett passed away after her courageous fight against cancer and was extremely tearful at Ronald Reagan’s demise following his tragic battle with… Read more »

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

yep; was wondering what happened to you on this one! I don’t know that Kathy Griffin would do that. As most of these “rumorss” we may never know the truth. On the other hand…perhaps it will come out. If that were the case then of course she wouldn’t be up for the role…so it would be a moot point. You know my views…it’s all in the acting. As for who Joan would approve…again…neither one of us knew her. But if you can go by the seeming friendship…then I think both of the comics I cited probably would pass go with… Read more »

Shay
Guest
Shay

rebecca1….In this particular case, it was not only the what but the how that was so very tragic…and the more that comes out about the situation, the worse it becomes. (Today’s latest just floored me….a selfie? Oh please, dear Lord, I hope that is not true. How much more undignified can this all become???) Nobody should have to leave this world under such deplorable conditions….especially when they could afford to pay for the best medical care possible, and ye tot still be subjected to such quackery and unprofessional conduct? As for all other conjecture, only time will tell. But I… Read more »

mgb357
Guest
mgb357

she really was a comic genius, and just watching her clips the last day has made me laugh.. again and again

she will be missed.

Eric Henwood-Greer
Guest
Eric Henwood-Greer

Isn’t that 2 AMC and a *Loving* favorite? I am perhaps wrong, but on the right that looks like Loving’s Susan Keith (who was on other soaps but not AMC, but she did meet James Kiberd,in the middle when he was on Loving and married him…)

Jim Nelson
Guest
Jim Nelson

So sad that Joan Rivers is gone – so iconic was she, and never somehow ever
became a “has been”. Was always relevant throughout the 60’s, 70’s, reached her peak in the 80’s but remained popular till her untimely passing yesterday. Still can’t believe it, to me, she was the funniest woman ever and had a comic delivery that has often been imitated but cannot ever be duplicated. I really liked Joan and her self-debacing humor and super sharp sarcastic wit. R.I.P. Joan ~

Margie Rose Dalton
Guest
Margie Rose Dalton

My heart goes out to Melissa. A world without her is darker place. Her humor was groundbreaking for all females. Any stand ups out there owe it to her.

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