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Pioneering Comedian Joan Rivers Dies

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Joan Rivers, the pioneering female comic, host and celebrity fashion maven, has died at the age of 81, her daughter Melissa Rivers announced.

Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital on August 28th, after she stopped breathing during a throat surgery at a clinic in New York City. She was placed in intensive care and a medically-induced coma at the time.

"My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," Melissa Rivers said in a statement. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."

Rivers was known for her acerbic comedy and underwent several self-reinventions over the course of her career, working as a stand up comic, earning an early appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and being the first female stand-up comic to perform at Carnegie Hall.

Rivers went on to become friends with Carson, working for the show as a writer and even filling in for him as a guest host on numerous occasions. Their relationship soured however, when Rivers accepted a job at Fox for a short-lived competing late night show and was banned from "Tonight Show."

Rivers also appeared in numerous film and television roles, including the Carol Burnett Show, a semi-regular spot in one of the Hollywood Squares, and the film "Rabbit Test," which she also wrote and directed. As well, Rivers penned a number of books, including the best selling "The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz" a humorous semi-autobiography. She also released her comedy in album form, earning a Grammy for Best Comedy Album for her 1984 hit "What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?"

Rivers more recently was known for her red carpet appearances at Hollywood Award shows, providing sarcastic and humorous commentary on the fashion and foibles of the attendees of the events.

"I mock everybody, regardless of race, creed or color," Rivers told the Toronto Star in a recent interview. "Every joke I make, no matter how tasteless, is there to draw attention to something I really care about." – Staff Writers