American actress, comedian, writer, producer, and television host noted for her often controversial comedic persona Joan Alexandra Molinsky known as Joan Rivers died on September 4, 2014 at the age of 81.
She experienced serious complications and stopped breathing while undergoing what was scheduled as a minor throat procedure at an outpatient clinic in Yorkville, Manhattan.
Resuscitated an hour later, Rivers was transferred to the hospital and later put on life support.
She died on September 4 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, having never awoken from a medically induced coma.
The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office said she died from brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen, and the details of her surgery would be investigated by officials.
Rivers’ first marriage was in 1955 to James Sanger, the son of a Bond Clothing Stores merchandise manager.
The marriage lasted six months and was annulled on the basis that Sanger did not want children and had not informed Rivers before the wedding.
Rivers married Edgar Rosenberg on July 15, 1965. Their only child, Melissa Warburg Rosenberg, who goes by the name Melissa Rivers, was born on January 20, 1968. Joan Rivers had one grandson, Cooper, born Edgar Cooper Endicott in 2000.
Along with his mother and grandmother, Cooper was featured in the WE tv series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? Rosenberg committed suicide in 1987, shortly after Rivers announced her intention to separate.
Rivers would later describe her marriage to Rosenberg as a “total sham”, complaining bitterly about his treatment of her during their 22-year marriage.
In a 2012 interview with Howard Stern, Rivers said she had several extramarital affairs when married to Rosenberg, including a one-night affair with actor Robert Mitchum in the 1960s and an affair with actor Gabriel Dell.
Born on June 8, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, Joan Rivers’s big break came in 1965: a booking on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. She was the youngest of two daughters, and her father was a doctor who had a great sense of humor.
The Molinsky family eventually moved out to Larchmont, a suburb of New York City.
Rivers attended Barnard College, where she pursued her interest in performing.
She appeared in numerous campus productions during her time there. After graduation, however, Rivers abandoned her dreams of being an entertainer for a more practical career.
She went to work as a buyer for a chain store and eventually fell in love with the owner’s son.
She won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1990 for best talk show host and was nominated for a Tony Award for the play “Donna Marr and Her Escorts” in 1994.
She was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording in 1985.
Rivers also established herself as an entertainment commentator, serving as host of the E! Series Live from the Red Carpet from 1996 to 2004.
No celebrity was spared from her quips and cracks during her tenure.
The majority of her plastic surgery was performed by Santa Monica surgeon Steven Hoefflin (who also performed plastic surgery on Michael Jackson’s nose).
She also received Botox and collagen injections every four months from New York City dermatologist Patricia Wexler.