The world got a little less funny yesterday as Joan Rivers made her transition. The caustic comedienne and host of E!’s Fashion Police passed away yesterday at the age of 81. As you know, she went into cardiac arrest during a routine procedure on her vocal cords last week, and never recovered.
Joan was the first really successful female in a field heavily populated by men. She first rose to fame as a frequent guest and guest host of Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show.” Her signature catchphrase, “Can we talk?” was often the opening line for gossip-infested jokes. Even though Johnny made it clear that he wanted her to be his heir apparent at “The Tonight Show,” she ended up signing a deal to do a late-night show at Fox that almost killed her career.
Rivers reinvented herself after that setback by returning to the standup circuit. She also enlisted her only daughter, Melissa, to do red carpet hosting with her. They eventually grew their celebrity-skewering commentary on fashion into a cottage industry and a successful show, E!’s “Fashion Police.” In addition, Rivers was also a writer. At the time of her death, she was still promoting her book, “Diary of a Mad Diva.” She’s survived by Melissa and her grandson, Cooper.