Joan Rivers carved a place for herself among the Hollywood elite as a comedian and fashion commentator for whom no subject was ever taboo. Despite her scatterbrained image, Rivers graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard in 1954 before breaking into Chicago’s comedy scene in 1961 at Second City with jokes inspired by the profanity-laden routines of Lenny Bruce. She made her first appearance on the Tonight Show in 1965, and Carson became a mentor to her as she began writing and performing for Ed Sullivan, Carol Burnett, and others, as well as acting in various movies. She is known for talking explicitly in her comic routines and interviews about taboo topics such as sex and plastic surgery. In 1990, she won a daytime Emmy for her talk show. In 1994, Rivers began collaborating with her daughter, Melissa, to provide fashion commentary for the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. As of 2014, the pair continue to collaborate on various reality show and talk show projects. Rivers has also written several books, including two autobiographies, Enter Talking and Still Talking.
More on Joan Rivers
- Encyclopedia Article: Joan Rivers
- We Remember: Joan Rivers, 1933 - 2014
- This Week in History: Chelsea Handler is named to Time’s 100 Most Influential People.
- This Week in History: Opening of Joan Rivers' first Broadway play
- This Week in History: Comic marvel Joan Rivers is born
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Joan Rivers." (Viewed on May 9, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/rivers-joan>.