A legend remembered
By ALISON THOET
This summer, the world lost many famed and renowned celebrities, and the passing of the iconic comedian Joan Rivers last week is just the most recent in a summer of stars lost too soon.
A celebrated comedian with an unmistakable face and knack for absolute honesty, Joan Rivers died on Sept. 4 of complications from a routine throat surgery, according to the New York Daily News.
At 81, Rivers was a woman notorious for her quick and unrelenting jokes and jibes, and successful as an “Emmy-award winning television talk show host, Tony award nominated actress, bestselling author, playwright, screenwriter, film director, columnist, lecturer, syndicated radio host, jewelry designer, cosmetic company entrepreneur and red carpet fashion laureate,” according to her website.
Rivers was named Johnny Carson’s permanent guest host in 1983 because of her prominence on “The Tonight Show” since 1965. She went on to become the first and only woman to host a late night network talk show, “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers” in 1986. Her move to FOX caused a break between Carson and Rivers, who never spoke again, and only a year later, Rivers’ husband and manager, Edgar Rosenbaum, died of a drug overdose, according to TIME.
Rivers shifted gears and entered the world of Broadway, starring in “Fun City” (1972) and “Sally Marr…and Her Escorts,” the latter of which she received a Best Actress Tony Award nomination.
She created and hosted “Live from the Red Carpet” for the E! Network in 1996 and later became the most voracious comedic voice in the fashion world on “Fashion Police.”
More important than her career, however, Rivers was a mother and grandmother, which she highlighted in the show “Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?,” in which she starred alongside her daughter Melissa Rivers. The revealing 2010 documentary, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” showed how “the woman who turned hate and self-hatred into comedy needed the loving validation of an audience — any audience,” according to TIME.
“For more than a half-century, first as a pioneering standup comedienne, then as a defiant survivor, she spoke skewed truth to power, and in doing so became her own potentate and garishly fossilized icon,” wrote Richard Corliss of TIME. “She could be a ranting bag lady, if the lady were as funny as she was rude, and the bag from Gucci.”
Never afraid to say what everyone else was thinking, Rivers was indeed a powerhouse. Her funeral was held amid a myriad of stars and friends last Sunday, Sept. 6, where touching remembrances and performances were held in courtesy of a life filled with wit, strength and honesty
The loss of such an iconic face will be felt by many. She was a woman who sizzled and never fizzled in life.