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Friday, September 5, 2014

Remembering Joan Rivers 1933 - 2014

In November 2011, my partner and I spent our 20th anniversary with actress/comedian Joan Rivers, who died Thursday at age 81. We went to see her perform and then got to meet her. Of course, she was hilariously outrageous during her show, but off stage she was the sweetest person, wishing us a happy anniversary and posing for a photo. I will miss this funny and talented lady.

Below I've selected some videos to celebrate the life and career of Ms. Rivers.

In 1964, she was part of a folksinging comedy trio called Jim, Jake and Joan, and they performed as themselves in the 1965 film, Once Upon a Coffee House. The movie was released on DVD in 2006 with a new name - Hootenanny a Go-Go.

She was a guest on The Sammy Davis, Jr. Show on January 14, 1966, with guest host Johnny Carson.

She performed on The Ed Sullivan Show on April 23, 1967.

She was the Mystery Guest on the syndicated game show, What's My Line?, on July 9, 1968.

She appeared with Lucille Ball on Here's Lucy on November 5, 1973.

She performed on The Carol Burnett Show on January 4, 1975.

She appeared on the Canadian talk show, 90 Minutes Live, in 1978 with host Peter Gzowski.

She co-wrote and directed the 1978 comedy, Rabbit Test, starring Billy Crystal as the world's first pregnant man. She also co-wrote the 1973 TV movie, The Girl Most Likely to..., and created the 1978 CBS sitcom, Husbands, Wives & Lovers.

She was the host of Saturday Night Live on April 9, 1983. She also released in 1983 a best-selling comedy album, What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?, which was nominated for a 1984 Grammy Award.

She appeared on British television in An Audience with Joan Rivers on March 17, 1984.

She appeared in the 1984 film, The Muppets Take Manhattan.

She was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on November 9, 1972, and on April 25, 1986. She was banned from show in 1986 when she became Carson's competitor - and the first woman to have her own talk show on a major network. The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers debuted on Fox on October 9, 1986, but low ratings and behind-the-scenes drama led to her being fired in 1987.

She received a 1990 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host for her 1989-93 syndicated series, The Joan Rivers Show. She was also the host of That Show, a 1968-69 syndicated daytime talk show, and more recently she was one of the hosts of the E! series, Fashion Police, which began in 2010.

In the video below, you can watch Rivers in the 2000 film, The Intern; as Kathy Griffin's mother in a 1998 episode of the NBC sitcom, Suddenly Susan; as Lenny Bruce's mother in the 1994 Broadway play, Sally Marr ... and Her Escorts (which she co-wrote); as herself in the 1994 TV movie, Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story; and in the 1968 drama, The Swimmer, with Burt Lancaster. She received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play for Sally Marr, and her other Broadway credits include the 1972 comedy, Fun City (which she co-wrote), and the Neil Simon play, Broadway Bound (she took over Linda Lavin's role in 1988).

Rivers played herself in a 2011 episode of the FX comedy, Louie. Other more recent credits include NBC's Celebrity Apprentice (which she won in 2009) and Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, the 2010 documentary about her life and career.

On February 17, 2014, Rivers made her first appearance on The Tonight Show since 1986 during Jimmy Fallon's first episode as the host, and she later returned for an interview on March 27, 2014.


Jon said...

Exhausting. She was unstoppable! Till now.

RIP Joan. Jx

Lance said...

Believe it or not, when I was (much) younger, my Mother forbade me from watching Joan as she was "too racy"! As I got older, I LOVED watching Joan, even though she was always "rude, crude, and socially unacceptable" -- she was HYSTERICAL! One of my favorite memories was when Edgat was still alive, and she said she KNEW he was having an affair with the Queen of England! "And how do I know this? Because he came home last night with tiara marks on his stomach!" I laughed till I cried.

RIP Joan. I hope your next lifetime is just as funny.

Lance said...

THANK YOU for such an amazing tribute to Joan, Marc! You and Michael were very lucky to meet her!

joel65913 said...

Marvelous tribute as always Marc, it's a shame so many have been necessary this year.

Particularly loved the early clips, that's the Joan Rivers I remember fondly. Somehow I missed the What's My Line appearance, I love them and thought I had done pretty well in seeing them all. Her documentary "A Piece of Work" which I watched last year is fascinating.

Even towards the end when she was unrecognizable she could still be a brassy delight and she certainly was one of a kind. She'll be missed.

Marc Harshbarger said...

Lance & Joel, I'm glad you both liked my tribute to Joan.