Joan Alexandra Molinsky (June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014), widely known as Joan Rivers, was an American actress, comedian, writer, producer, and television host noted for her often controversial comedic persona — where she was alternately self-deprecating or sharply acerbic, especially toward celebrities and politicians.
Rivers came to prominence in 1965 as a guest on The Tonight Show. Hosted by her mentor, Johnny Carson, the show established Rivers’ comedic style. In 1986, with her own rival program, The Late Show with Joan Rivers, Rivers became the first woman to host a late night network television talk show. She subsequently hosted The Joan Rivers Show (1989-1993), winning a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host.
As the author 12 best-selling memoir and humor books and numerous comedy albums, Rivers was nominated in 1984 for a Grammy Award for her album What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most? and was nominated in 1994 for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance of the title role inSally Marr…and her escorts.
Having become widely known for her red carpet interviews, Rivers co-hosted the E! celebrity fashion showFashion Police (2010- 2014) and starred in reality series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? (2011-2014) with daughter Melissa Rivers. Rivers marketed a line of jewelry and apparel on the QVC shopping channel, and was the subject of the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010).
In 1968, noted New York Times television critic Jack Gould (1914–1993) called Rivers “quite possibly the most intuitively funny woman alive.”