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Joan Rivers Dies Aged 81

Joan Rivers Dies Aged 81

Joan Rivers, who ascended to the pinnacle of US show business in a career spanning five decades, dies a week after suffering cardiac arrest. She was 81.

The comedian Joan Rivers, whose mastery of the acid one liner never wavered in a career that spanned five decades and many more cosmetic procedures, died on Thursday, aged 81. Rivers suffered a cardiac arrest during throat surgery on her vocal cords at an outpatient clinic in New York on 28 August. She was rushed to Mount Sinai hospital on the Upper East Side, and was moved from its intensive care unit into a private room on Wednesday. She never regained consciousness. In the almost 50 years since she burst onto the scene on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Rivers ascended to the pinnacle of American show business even as she skewered its excesses with her scathing wit.

Born in Brooklyn in 1933, Joan Rivers worked the New York comedy scene alongside Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, George Carlin and Woody Allen. Her big break came with an appearance on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’ in 1965, where she quickly became an audience favourite. Live on air after her first appearance, Carson said: “You’re gonna be a star,” and he became her close friend and mentor. She went on to appear on a galaxy of other TV shows, including The Carol Burnett Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, as well as performing live in New York and Las Vegas, and recording several comedy albums. In her later career, Rivers became known for hosting live shows that chronicled the red-carpet arrivals of celebrities to awards ceremonies. The first of them was in 1994 for the E! Entertainment Network, and she quickly became an institution at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Grammys. The scourge of celebrities, Rivers could bring anyone crashing to earth with a slingshot put-down.

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