Joan Rivers; Complicated Media Icon, Dead at 81

Published: Sep 05, 2014 01:56am EDT
By Rick Rinker, Political Editor for Konsume Entertainment

Please Note: This article was updated Sep 05, 2014 @ 09:39am EDT


Joan Rivers died on Thursday after complications following an elective throat surgery.

Rivers is considered a trail blazer who broke many barriers for women in comedy, television and writing. She is also credited with opening doors for numerous comedians throughout the years. Joan Rivers has been a permanent fixture in late-night, literary, stand-up comedy, Broadway, reality television and tabloid media for more than 60 years.

She rose to national prominence in the mid-1960’s with the help of the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, in addition to appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and a pair of comedy albums she released.

Throughout the 70’s and early 80’s, Rivers appeared on shows such as the Carol Burnette Show, had frequent stints on Hollywood Squares and wrote a pair of movies. Rivers continued as a guest and sometimes guest-host on the Tonight Show.

In 1986, she went on to launch a rival program on FOX, which resulted in a falling out with longtime friend and mentor Johnny Carson. The two never spoke again.

Rivers’ personal life also took a toll as her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, who was her manager and producer of The Late Show with Joan Rivers, committed suicide in 1987. Rivers later admitted to having several extramarital affairs while married to Rosenberg, and blamed his suicide on prescription medications he was taking.

After the failure of ‘The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers’, the show was then handed over to up-and-comer Arsenio Hall. This period marked a decline of sorts in Rivers’ career, though she had cemented her position in the comedy world being the first female to host a talk show on a major network.

Rivers hosted another talk show entitled ‘The Joan Rivers show ‘in 1989 through its cancellation in 1994, after which Rivers would go on to write several books, chalk up countless appearances on talk-shows, reality television, stand-up appearances and become a regular fixture on the red carpet.

During the course of the next three decades Rivers became known mostly for her snarky, sometimes entertaining, but usually mean-spirited commentary on reality television and red carpet events.

Often courting celebrity beefs for calling Adele ‘fat’, the first lady a ‘tranny’ or having meltdowns during cable-news interviews; Rivers was an omnipresent fixture in pop-culture for good or bad.

Joan Rivers was beloved by many and reviled by some, yet was successful in her long storied career and will certainly be cemented in the world of Fashion, Television and Comedy for generations to come.

She made no secret of her hatred for those in Palestine, made a career for blasting celebrities for their fashion choices and personal appearances while undergoing numerous plastic surgeries, and ironically dying as a result of complications from an elective surgery.

Couple all this with her unflinching admission that she was a serial cheater, believed that “people in Palestine who died, deserved to be dead” and it’s hard to paint Ms. Rivers as anything but the mean-spirited queen of hate-filled opinion.

Good, bad and real, this is who Joan Rivers was. Rest in peace.


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Rick Rinker
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