Joan Rivers

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.

Topics: Comedy, Film, Memoirs

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Joan Rivers at Musto's 25th Anniversary, New York City, 2010.

Courtesy of David Shankbone/Wikimedia.

Date of Birth

Brooklyn, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Joan Rivers." (Viewed on May 9, 2021) <>.


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