Comedian, actress, and author Joan Rivers has died at the age of 81. Rivers suffered cardiac arrest while undergoing a vocal cord procedure last week at a clinic in New York City’s Upper Westside. She spent the last several days on life support before passing away Thursday morning. Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, confirmed news of her death.
Known for her crass and in-your-face style and as a pioneer for female comedians, Rivers came to prominence in the 1960s when she became a regular guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. While she gained a presence on television programs like The Carol Burnett Show and Hollywood Squares, she also had a successful standup career, with her 1984 album What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most? being nominated for a Grammy.
The later half of Rivers’ career was marked by numerous TV projects, including her self-titled Emmy-winning daytime talk show. More recently, she became known for her celebrity fashion show Fashion Police and the reality series she created with her daughter Melissa, Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best. She also appeared in films such as The Muppets Take Manhattan, Spaceballs, and Shrek 2.
Below, watch Rivers’ speech during her roast on Comedy Central from 2009.