Legendary comedienne Joan Rivers has died at 81. Rivers never fully recovered from complications during an August 28 surgery in New York City, where she suffered cardiac arrest and was later placed in a medically-induced coma. On September 2, daughter Melissa Rivers revealed her mother was on life support.
"It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers," Melissa Rivers said in a written statement today. "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."
No one broke the glass ceiling quite like Joan Rivers. Hailed as the first woman to break through late night television, Rivers did stand-up gigs in clubs for years before a 1965 appearance on the The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson changed everything.
Rivers became the only permanent guest host on The Tonight Show for three years before she went on to become the first woman ever to host her own late night talk show, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers on Fox.
After years of TV appearances, tours, and books, Rivers furthered her name for a new audience with Live from the Red Carpet for the E! Network (1996-2004), a staple of every award season. She returned to helm E's Fashion Police, hosting both its weekly broadcasts and its awards-season specials.
Through the fashion, plastic surgery, and countless controversies, Rivers remains one of entertainment's most beloved figures. Prior to her death, she continued to bring her comedy to audiences around the world, and even had shows scheduled around the U.S. and UK through November.
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Those fortunate enough to have caught one of Rivers' performances know the bright, unflinching energy she harnessed, delivering each self-deprecating phrase, each off-color, politically-incorrect joke, with an unending zest that belied her age.
To celebrate the wisdom and humor of America's best bitchy critic, here are some of our favorite Joan Rivers jokes:
"I wish I had a twin so I could know what I'd look like without plastic surgery."
"The most beautiful women in the world are always the dumbest. The most beautiful woman in the whole world, Bo Derek ... This woman is an idiot. She studies for her Pap test."
"If God wanted me to bend over, he'd have put diamonds on the floor."
"I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them"
"I hate thin people; "Oh, does the tampon make me look fat?"
"At my funeral, I want Meryl Streep crying in five different accents."
"I was just reading about the new Lindsay Lohan diet, which is all liquid. 80 proof."
"All babies look like Renée Zellweger pushed against a glass window."