All hail the first queen of comedic controversy, Joan Rivers, who has passed away at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan at the age of 81.
The news, confirmed by her daughter Melissa and reported in the New York Times, comes after a hard week of medical stay. She was taken to Mt. Sinai last Thursday when she reportedly lost consciousness during a vocal cord procedure, and had recently left the intensive care unit after pulling through a medically-induced coma.
As divisive and brash as she could be, she'll no doubt be remembered for her biting wit, hysterical honesty, and the sheer speed with which she cleverly damaged an ego even into her last days.
Born in Brooklyn in 1933, she made a name for herself as a self-deprecating comedian and stage actor in the 1960s. Her vibrant personality, fashionability and lack of empathy for the gentle made her a favorite on television talk and variety shows. Her dark humor bred success, and in 1986, she became the first woman to host her late-night T.V. on The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers.
Millennials would remember her most as the hard-to-please Madame presiding over the most fashionable red carpets, representing the E! Network and the TV Guide Channel.
With a strong opinion on everyone and everything, she remained a controversial figure throughout her life, yet never managed to completely undo the endearing hold she had on the hearts of American TV audiences. She was quick to make fun of herself, even finding room to joke about her husband's suicide, and with an ever-changing appearance and no guilt in admitting her addiction to plastic surgery, she got her fair share of the shit she dished out.
"I've learned to have absolutely no regrets about any jokes I've ever done," she told Hollywood Reporter in 2013. "You can tune me out, you can click me off, it's OK. I am not going to bow to political correctness. But you do have to lean, if you want to be a satirist, you can't be part of the party."
Rivers is survived by her daughter, Melissa Rivers, and her grandson, Cooper.