Rivers in 2010
|Birth name||Joan Alexandra Molinsky|
June 8, 1933 |
Brooklyn, New York
|Medium||Stand-up, television, film|
(m. 1955; annulled)
(m. 1965–1987; widowed)
|Outstanding Talk Show Host
1990 The Joan Rivers Show
Joan Alexandra Molinsky (born June 8, 1933), better known by her stage name Joan Rivers, is an American television personality, comedienne, writer, film director, and actress. She is known for her ribald, deprecative style. Rivers' comic style relies heavily on her ability to poke fun at herself and other Hollywood celebrities. Her long career spanning five decades has led to her becoming known as a comedy legend and icon, often being referred to as "The Queen of Comedy".
Joan Rivers was born Joan Alexandra Molinsky in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants Beatrice (née Grushman; January 6, 1906 – October 1975) and Meyer C. Molinsky (December 7, 1900 – January 1985). Her older sister Barbara died in 2013. She was raised in Brooklyn, New York, and her family later moved to Larchmont, in Westchester County, New York. She attended Connecticut College between 1950 and 1952 and graduated from Barnard College in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and anthropology. Before entering show business, Rivers worked at various jobs such as a tour guide at Rockefeller Center, a writer/proofreader at an advertising agency and as a fashion consultant at Bond Clothing Stores. During this period, agent Tony Rivers advised her to change her name, so she chose Joan Rivers as her stage name.
During the late 1950s, Rivers appeared in a short-run play, Driftwood, playing a lesbian with a crush on a character played by a then-unknown Barbra Streisand. The play ran for six weeks. Rivers performed in numerous comedy clubs in the Greenwich Village area of New York City in the early 1960s, including The Bitter End and The Gaslight Cafe, before making her first appearances as a guest on the TV program The Tonight Show originating from New York, hosted at the time by Jack Paar.
By 1965, Rivers had a stint on Candid Camera as a gag writer and participant; she was "the bait" to lure people into ridiculous situations for the show. She also made her first appearance on The Tonight Show with new host Johnny Carson, on February 17, 1965. During the same decade, Rivers made other appearances on The Tonight Show as well as The Ed Sullivan Show, while hosting the first of several talk shows. She wrote material for the puppet Topo Gigio. She had a brief role in The Swimmer (1968), starring Burt Lancaster. A year later, she had a short-lived syndicated daytime talk show, That Show with Joan Rivers; Johnny Carson was her first guest. In the middle of the 1960s, she released at least two comedy albums, The Next to Last Joan Rivers Album and Rivers Presents Mr. Phyllis & Other Funny Stories.
By the 1970s, Rivers was appearing on various television comedy and variety shows, including The Carol Burnett Show and a semi-regular stint on Hollywood Squares. From 1972 to 1976, she narrated The Adventures of Letterman, an animated segment for The Electric Company. In 1973, Rivers wrote the TV movie The Girl Most Likely to..., a black comedy starring Stockard Channing. In 1978, Rivers wrote and directed the film Rabbit Test, starring her friend Billy Crystal. During the same decade, she was the opening act for singers Helen Reddy, Robert Goulet, Mac Davis and Sergio Franchi on the Las Vegas Strip.
Rivers has spoken of her primary Tonight Show life as having been Johnny Carson's daughter, a reference to his longtime mentoring of her and, during the 1980s, establishing her as his regular guest host by August 1983. It was not her only work, however. On April 9, 1983, she hosted Saturday Night Live. In the same period, she released a best-selling comedy album on Geffen Records, What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most? The album reached No. 22 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
Also in 1984, Rivers published a best-selling humor book, The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abramowitz, a mock memoir of her brassy, loose comedy character. A television special based on the character, a mock tribute called Joan Rivers and Friends Salute Heidi Abramowitz, was not successful with the public.
The decade was controversial for Rivers. She sued female impersonator Frank Marino for $5,000,000 in 1986, after discovering he was using her real stand-up material in the impersonation of her that he included in his popular Las Vegas act. The two comics reconciled, even appearing together on television in later years.
Also in 1986 came the move that cost Rivers her longtime friendship with Carson, who had first hired her as a Tonight Show writer. The soon-to-launch Fox Television Network announced that it was giving her a late night talk show, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers. The new network planned to broadcast the show 11:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time, making her a Carson competitor. Carson claimed he learned of the show from Fox and not from Rivers herself.
Shortly after Carson's death in 2005, Rivers said that he never spoke to her again. In 2008, during an interview with Dr. Pamela Connolly on television's Shrink Rap, Rivers claimed she did call Carson, but he hung up on her at once and repeated the gesture when she called again.
The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers turned out to be flecked by tragedy. When Rivers challenged Fox executives, who wanted to fire her husband Edgar Rosenberg as the show's producer, the network fired them both. On May 15, 1987, three months later, Rosenberg committed suicide in Philadelphia; Rivers blamed the tragedy on his "humiliation" by Fox. Fox attempted to continue the show with a new name (The Late Show) and rotating guest hosts. A year after the Late Show debacle, Rivers was a guest on TV's Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special. By 1989, she tried another daytime TV talk show, The Joan Rivers Show, which ran for five years and won her an Daytime Emmy in 1990 for Outstanding Talk Show Host. In 1994, Rivers and daughter Melissa first hosted the E! Entertainment Television pre-awards show for the Golden Globe Awards. Beginning in 1995, they hosted the annual E! Entertainment Television pre-awards show for the Academy Awards. Beginning in 1997, Rivers hosted her own radio show on WOR in New York City. Rivers also appeared as one of the center square occupants on the 1986–89 version of The Hollywood Squares, hosted by John Davidson.
Rivers appeared in three episodes of the TV show Nip/Tuck during its second, third and seventh season playing herself. Rivers appears regularly on television's The Shopping Channel (in Canada) and QVC (in both the United States and the UK), promoting her own line of jewelry under brand name "The Joan Rivers Collection". She was also a guest speaker at the opening of the American Operating Room Nurses' 2000 San Francisco Conference. Both Joan and Melissa Rivers are frequent guests on Howard Stern's radio show, and Joan Rivers often appears as a guest on UK panel show 8 out of 10 Cats.
Rivers was one of only four Americans invited to the Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles on 9 April 2005. In 2006, Rivers was featured on the adult animated show, Drawn Together as Princess Clara's vagina that had received too much plastic surgery. Clara's 'vajoana' often repeated the phrase "who are you wearing, who are you wearing?". On August 16, 2007, Rivers began a two-week workshop of her new play, with the working title "The Joan Rivers Theatre Project", at The Magic Theatre in San Francisco. On December 3, 2007, Rivers performed in the Royal Variety Show 2007 at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, England, with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip present. In January 2008, Rivers became one of 20 hijackers to take control of the Big Brother house in the UK for one day in spin-off TV show Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack. On June 24, 2008, Rivers appeared on NBC-TV’s show Celebrity Family Feud and competed with her daughter, Melissa against Ice-T and Coco.
Rivers and daughter Melissa were contestants in 2009 on the second Celebrity Apprentice. Throughout the season, each celebrity raised money for a charity of his or her choice; Rivers selected God's Love We Deliver. After a falling out with poker player Annie Duke, following Melissa's on-air firing (elimination) by Donald Trump, Rivers left the green room telling Clint Black and Jesse James that she would not be in the next morning. Rivers later returned to the show and on May 3, 2009, she became a finalist in the series. The other finalist was Duke. On the season finale, which aired live on May 10, Rivers was announced the winner and hired to be the 2009 Celebrity Apprentice. In 2013, Joan Rivers will appear on an episode of The Celebrity Apprentice 6 as a guest advisor.
Rivers was featured on the show Z Rock as herself and was also a special so-called pink-carpet presenter for the 2009 broadcast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. She was also roasted in a Comedy Central special, taped on July 26, 2009, and aired on August 9, 2009. From August 2009, Rivers began starring in the new reality TV series How'd You Get So Rich? on TV Land. A documentary film about Rivers, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival at the Castro Theatre on May 6, 2010. In 2011, Rivers appeared in a commercial for Go Daddy, which debuted during the broadcast of Super Bowl XLV. To date, Joan has made two appearances on Live at the Apollo, once as a comedienne and once as a guest host.
Joan and her daughter Melissa Rivers premiered the new show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? on WE tv. The series follows Joan moving to California to be closer to her family. She moves in with daughter Melissa while searching for a home of her own. WE tv then ordered a new season consisting of 10 episodes, which premiered in January 2012. In 2011, Rivers was featured as herself in Season 2 of Louis C.K.'s self-titled show Louie, where she performed on-stage. Since September 10, 2010, Rivers has co-hosted the E! show Fashion Police, along with Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos commenting on the dos and don'ts of celebrity fashion. The show started as a half-hour program, but expanded to one hour on March 9, 2012. On August 7, 2012, Rivers showed up in Burbank, California to protest that the warehouse-club Costco would not sell her New York Times best-selling book, I Hate Everyone ... Starting with Me. She handcuffed herself to a person's shopping cart and shouted through a megaphone. The police were called to the scene and she left without incident and no arrests were made. On March 5, 2013, Joan launched a new online talk show called In Bed With Joan through YouTube, in which each week she has a different celebrity guest that "comes out of the closet" and they talk about various topics. The show takes place in Joan's bedroom, which is in Melissa's house in Malibu, California.
Rivers' first marriage was in 1955 to James Sanger, the son of a Bond Clothing Stores merchandise manager. The marriage lasted six months and was annulled on the basis that Sanger did not want children and had not informed Rivers before the wedding. Her second marriage was on July 15, 1965 to Edgar Rosenberg, who committed suicide in 1987. Their only child, Melissa Warburg Rosenberg (now known as Melissa Rivers), was born on January 20, 1968. She has one grandson, Melissa's son Cooper (born Edgar Cooper Endicott on December 1, 2000) who is featured with his mother and grandmother in the WE tv series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?
In her book, Bouncing Back (1997), she described how she developed bulimia and contemplated suicide. Eventually, she recovered with counseling and the support of her family. In 2002, Rivers told the Montreal Mirror that she was a Republican. However, on a 2013 episode of Celebrity Wife Swap, Rivers stated that she was a Democrat.
In a June 5, 2012 interview with Howard Stern, Rivers said she had several extramarital affairs when married to Rosenberg. According to Rivers, she had a one-night sexual encounter with actor Robert Mitchum in the 1960s after an appearance together on The Tonight Show. She also had an extended affair with actor Gabriel Dell during the out-of-town and Broadway productions of her play, Fun City, in 1971, for which Rivers told Stern she "left Edgar over" for several weeks. Rivers is open about her multiple cosmetic surgeries, and has been a patient of plastic surgeon Steven Hoefflin since 1983. Her first procedure, an eye lift, was performed in 1965 as an attempt to further her career.
- Don't Count the Candles: Just Keep the Fire Lit!. Harpercollins. 1999. ISBN 978-0060183837. (Self-Help)
- Having a Baby Can Be a Scream. J.P. Tarcher. 1974. (Self-Help/Humour)
- The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz. Doubleday. 1984. ISBN 978-0385293594. (Humour)
- Bouncing Back: I've Survived Everything ... and I Mean Everything ... and You Can Too!. HarperTorch. 1997. ISBN 978-0061096013.
- Enter Talking. Dell Publishing Co. 1986. ISBN 978-0440122449. (Autobiography)
- Still Talking. Random House. 1991. ISBN 978-0394579917. (Autobiography)
- Jewelry by Joan Rivers. Abbeville Press. 1995. ISBN 978-1558598089. (Non-Fiction)
- From Mother to Daughter: Thoughts and Advice on Life, Love and Marriage. Birch Lane Pr;. 1998. ISBN 978-1559724937. (Self-Help)
- Murder at the Academy Awards (R): A Red Carpet Murder Mystery. Pocket. 2009. ISBN 1416599371. (Fiction)
- I Hate Everyone...Starting with Me. Berkley Trade. 2012. ISBN 978-0425255896. (Humour)
- Men Are Stupid...And They Like Big Boobs: A Woman's Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery. 2008. ISBN 141659924X. (Non-Fiction)
|1965||Once Upon a Coffee House|
|1978||Rabbit Test||Also director and writer|
|1984||The Muppets Take Manhattan|
|1987||Les Patterson Saves the World|
|1988||Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special|
|1989||Look Who's Talking||Voice|
|1993||Public Enemy #2|
|2000||Whispers: An Elephant's Tale||Voice|
|2002||The Making and Meaning of 'We Are Family||Documentary|
|2002||Hip! Edgy! Quirky!|
|2007||The Last Guy on Earth|
|2010||Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work||Documentary; herself|
|2010||Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps||Uncredited|
|2011||The Smurfs||Party Guest|
|2013||Iron Man 3||Cameo|
|1968–69||That Show starring Joan Rivers||Syndicated daytime talk show|
|Cast member, 1972–77||The Electric Company||Voice|
|1973||Needles and Pins||Guest-starred as Eleanor Karp in episode "The Wife You Save May Be Your Own"|
|1984||An Audience with Joan Rivers|
|1986||Joan Rivers: Can We Talk?|
|Host, 1986–87||The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers|
|Center square, 1988–89||The New Hollywood Squares||Hosted by John Davidson|
|1989–93||The Joan Rivers Show'||Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host|
|1990||How to Murder a Millionaire|
|1994||Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story|
|1995–present||Can We Shop?|
|Cast member in 1997||Another World|
|2001||E! True Hollywood Story: Joan Rivers||Parody episode of show aired April 1, 2001)|
|Cast member in 2004, guest host in 2007||Jack Dee Live at the Apollo|
|2004||Dave the Barbarian||Voice – Zonthara, Emperess of Evil|
|2004–06||The Joan Rivers Position|
|2006||An Audience with Joan Rivers|
|2006–07||8 out of 10 Cats|
|2006||Joan Rivers: Before Melissa Pulls the Plug|
|2006||Dawn French's Girls Who Do Comedy||In-depth interview with the BBC|
|2008||Shrink Rap||With Dr. Pamela Connolly – More4|
|2008||Celebrity Family Feud|
|2008||Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack||Celebrity Hijacker|
|2008||Z Rock||Aunt Joan|
|2008||Spaceballs: The Animated Series||Voice|
|2008, 2010||Arthur||Voice – Bubby (Francine's Grandmother)|
|2009||Celebrity Apprentice 2||Herself|
|2009||How'd You Get So Rich?||Herself|
|2009||The Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers||Herself|
|2009||Celebrity Ghost Stories||Herself|
|2010||Celebrity Apprentice 3|
|2011–present||Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?|
|2011||The Simpsons||Voice – Annie Dubinsky (season 23, episode 8 – "The Ten-Per-Cent Solution")|
|2012||Joan Rivers: Don't Start with Me|
|2013–present||In Bed With Joan||Online talk show|
|1972||Fun City||An original comedy, co-written with Lester Colodny and Edgar Rosenberg, Morosco Theatre|
|1988||Broadway Bound||By Neil Simon (replacement for Kate, 1988, Broadhurst Theatre)|
|1994||Sally Marr...and her escorts||A play suggested by the life of Lenny Bruce's mother (co-written with Erin Ladd Sanders and Lonny Price), May 1994, Helen Hayes Theatre, Broadway.|
|2008||Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress||Geffen Playhouse|
|2008||Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress||Edinburgh Festival Fringe|
|2008||Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress||Leicester Square Theatre, London|
|2012||Joan Rivers: The Now or Never Tour||October 2012, UK tour|
|2014||Joan Rivers: Before They Close The Lid Tour||October 2014, UK tour|
Awards and nominations
|1984||What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?||Grammy Award||Best Comedy Album||Nominated|
|1990||The Joan Rivers Show||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Talk Show Host||Won|
|1992||Outstanding Writing - Special Class||Nominated|
|Outstanding Talk Show Host||Nominated|
|1993||Outstanding Writing - Special Class||Nominated|
|Outstanding Talk Show Host||Nominated|
|1994||Sally Marr...and her escorts||Tony Award||Best Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|2009||Arthur||Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||Nominated|
Note: Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing - Special Class shared with Toem Perew and Hester Mundis.
- "Joan Rivers Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story". The Biography Channel. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Whitworth, Melissa (November 1, 2010). "Joan Rivers: the queen of comedy reflects on her past". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- "Barbara Waxler Obituary". legacy.com/. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- Pfefferman, Naomi (2007-12-27). "Joan Rivers’ ‘Life’—audacious, as always|Arts In L.A.". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- "Joan Rivers Biography (1933?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- Rivers, Joan (1986). Autobiography: Enter Talking. New York: Delacorte Press, First Printing
- Autobiography: Bouncing Back (1997), HarperCollins. p. 74-75
- Riley, Sam G. (1995) Biographical Dictionary of American Newspaper Columnists, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 265 ISBN 978-0-313-29192-0.
- Sochen, June (1998). "From Sophie Tucker to Barbra Streisand: Jewish Women Entertainers as Reformers". Talking Back: Images of Jewish Women in American Popular Culture. Ed. Joyce Antler. Brandeis series in American Jewish history, culture, and life. Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press Published by University Press of New England. pp. 68-84.
- Enter Talking, p. 85-96 and last photo insert page before p. 183
- Enter Talking, p. 230
- Enter Talking, p. 233-239
- Enter Talking, p. 359-373
- "The Joan Rivers Show". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- "The Next to Last Joan Rivers Album".
- "Joan Rivers Presents Mr. Phyllis & Other Funny Stories".
- "Saturday Night Live". IMDB. 1983-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- "Grammy Awards". Metrolyrics.com. 1984-02-28. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- Frank Marino discusses law suit
- King, Norman (1993). Arsenio Hall. New York: William Morrow & Co., pp. 47–48
- Joanne Kaufman, Alan Carter,  "Rocked by Tragedy and Failure, Joan Rivers Comes Back with a New Show and a New Life", People, February 19, 1990
- "The Joan Rivers Show". IMDB. 2001-05-25. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- TV Guide Guide to TV. Barnes and Noble. 2004. p. 331. ISBN 0-7607-5634-1.
- Bouncing Back!, p. 207
- "Entertainment & the Arts | TV briefs: Rivers duo may leave E! for TV Guide Channel | Seattle Times Newspaper". Community.seattletimes.nwsource.com. 2004-06-25. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- "Nip/Tuck Episode: "Joan Rivers"". TVGuide.com. Lionsgate. October 5, 2004. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
- "Nip/Tuck Episode: "Ben White"". TVGuide.com. Lionsgate. November 1, 2005. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
- "Nip/Tuck Episode: "Hiro Yoshimura"". TVGuide.com. Lionsgate. March 3, 2010. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
- "A Yankee in the court of Prince Charles". The Sunday Times. June 18, 2006.
- "San Francisco". Magic Theatre. Retrieved 2009-04-29.[dead link]
- "Joan Rivers". The Celebrity Apprentice. NBC. Retrieved 2009-04-28.[dead link]
- Catlin, Roger (2009-04-27). "'Celebrity Apprentice': Rivers Run". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- "Rivers defends daughter on 'Celebrity Apprentice'". Associated Press. 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- Dalton, Ross (2012-10-11). "'Celebrity Apprentice': Joan Rivers, Piers Morgan, Arsenio Hall and John Rich to return as advisors -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- Weiss, Shari (2011-02-07). "Joan Rivers Go Daddy Super Bowl commerical [sic]: Is that really the 77-year-old comedienne's body?". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- Abbey, Jennifer. "Joan Rivers Chains Herself to Costco Shopping Cart in Protest". ABC News. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- Enter Talking, p. 67-71
- Enter Talking, fourth page of photo inserts between p. 182-183
- Enter Talking, p. 70
- Enter Talking epilogue, p. 375
- Fink, Mitchell (2000-12-02). "Stars To Swell Cathedral For Mottola Wedding". New York Daily News (Articles.nydailynews.com). Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- "Joan Rivers is a nice person – really". The Miami Herald. June 24, 2010.
- Hays, Matthew (2002). "Can she talk". Montreal Mirror. Archived from the original on November 16, 2002. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
- ["Joan Rivers on Howard Stern (6/5/12)"]. Sirius Radio. June 5, 2012.
- Kron, Joan (July 2005). "Nip/Talk". Allure (Condé Nast Publications). Retrieved 2011-01-11.
- "Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- "E! True Hollywood Story: Joan Rivers". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- "''Season 2 Episode 16''". Tv.com. 2007-09-08. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- "Fun City". Ibdb.com. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- "Broadway Bound - Replacements". Ibdb.com. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- "Awards for Joan Rivers". IMDb.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joan Rivers.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Joan Rivers|
- Official website
- Joan Rivers at the Internet Movie Database
- Joan Rivers on Twitter
- Joan Rivers on Facebook
- In Bed With Joan's channel on YouTube
- Joan Rivers at the Internet Broadway Database
- Joan Rivers at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Comedy Hall of Fame Archives
- BroadwayWorld.com interview with Joan Rivers, February 19, 2009
|The Apprentice winners
Season 8 (Celebrity Edition 2)