Joan Rivers, who had been in a medically-induced coma after she stopped breathing during an operation on her vocal chords, died at 1:17 p.m. today at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, according to an announcement by her daughter Melissa. She had been unconscious and in critical but stable condition for a week. Rivers was a lifelong comedienne and fashion critic, whose humor knew few boundaries, with her harshest barbs often aimed at herself.
Joan Alexandra Molinsky was born to Russian immigrant parents on June 8, 1933. She grew up in Brooklyn and Westchester County, NY, and attended Connecticut College and Barnard College, earning degrees in English and anthropology. Before becoming famous, she took Joan Rivers as her stage name. She got her big break in 1965 on The Tonight Show: Starring Johnny Carson and later became the show's first permanent guest host, but was banned from the show when she got her own show during the same time slot. The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers was short-lived, but she later launched The Joan Rivers Show. Besides appearing in numerous other shows, and even selling jewelry on QVC, Rivers wrote 12 books.
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