Joan Rivers, Comedy Icon, Dies at 81

Joan Rivers, Comedy Icon, Dies at 81

The groundbreaking star passed away after complications from surgery.

Published September 4, 2014

Sadly, another legend is gone. Joan Rivers, an icon of comedy, passed away at the age of 81 after complications from minor throat surgery. Controversial, groundbreaking and a show business survivor, the Brooklyn native changed comedy by breaking down barriers for women.  

Famously discovered by Bill Cosby, Rivers got her big break on The Tonight Show, eventually guest co-hosting for Johnny Carson. After she landed her own show in 1987, Carson notoriously banned Rivers from NBC late night, which kept Rivers off NBC late night for nearly 30 years. Jimmy Fallon lifted the ban when he brought her on as a guest at the beginning of this year.

Considered offensive, crude and famously upsetting the A-list, Joan Rivers's feuds are endless: Elizabeth TaylorRihannaOprah WinfreyKim Kardashian and many more took issue with the comedienne over the years. Rivers once said about celebrities, "When you’re making $25 million a movie, or the dresses are given to you, when you’re living this amazing life, you’re gonna worry that a comic made a joke about you? That’s what’s bothering you? That’s crazy."  

Rivers was also an activist for HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s. She raised millions of dollars for the cause and was outspoken activist of LGBT rights. Rivers was also known as one of the first celebs to be open about plastic surgery, which she was criticized for over the years. Rivers always believed in telling the truth, whether it was at the expense of herself or Hollywood. Moreover, she made millions laugh and her unique brand of comedy transcended age, race and gender.  

Hated or beloved, Joan Rivers was a comedy icon and will be missed. Our condolences to Rivers's fans, friends and family. is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.

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(Photo: Dan Jackman/

Written by Clay Cane


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