Joan Rivers was born Joan Alexandra Molinsky on June 8, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. A daughter of Russian immigrants, she graduated with degrees in English and anthropology from Barnard College in 1954. Initially working for a fashion house, she was inspired to turn to comedy after watching a Lenny Bruce stand-up show. From there, she began work as a comedian, first gaining wide attention in the 1960s, through her appearances on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show. She also took fame as the host of her own talk show; she would do so many times throughout her career.
Rivers’ popularity continued to rise throughout the 1970s and 1980s, through films, talk show appearances and her own shows. At one point, she headlined her own series of sold-out shows in Las Vegas. The 1980s saw her become a frequent guest host of The Tonight Show, then led by Johnny Carson; this ended in 1986, when she left to form her own talk show, The Late Show with Joan Rivers, on then newly-launched Fox. The show lasted for only a year, but it had a dent on her relations with Carson. More significantly, it made a dent on her personal life; the resulting fallout led to the suicide of her husband, which devastated her greatly.
Rivers returned to television in 1989, hosting daytime talk show The Joan Rivers Show. That earned her an Emmy, for Outstanding Talk Show Host, in 1990. In 1996, two years after the cancellation of that series, Rivers, joined E! and, with the help of her daughter Melissa, they presented numerous red carpet specials, which attracted viewers for their wit and class. They would leave the network in 2004, joining the TV Guide Channel in the same capacity.
Rivers also plunged into other endeavors throughout her career. An avid jewelry collector, she designed her own jewelry line for QVC in 1990. She has also written numerous books, has hosted a widely-syndicated radio show, written and directed films, and even appeared on theater. In 2009, she became a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice. She eventually emerged victorious on the show, winning money for her charity God's Love We Deliver.
- Her first husband is James Sanger. When their marriage was annulled, she wed
Edgar Rosenberg in 1965. He died in 1987, but the couple has one child together - Melissa Rivers.
- She is an avid collector of Faberge eggs.
- She began her career by doing stand-up comedy, using the stage name Pepper January.
- She used to be a writer for TV's "Candid Camera".
- She cites Tommy Lee Jones as the most difficult celebrity she ever interviewed.
- She is a vegetarian.
- Her first cosmetic surgery procedure was an eye lift, done in 1965.
1990: Daytime Emmy Awards - Outstanding Talk/Service Show Host for: "The Joan Rivers Show"
1989: Star on the Walk of Fame
1984: Hasty Pudding Theatricals, USA - Woman of the Year
1983: Golden Apple Awards - Sour Apple
2011: Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? (TV series)
2009-2011: Rachael Ray (TV series) - Herself
2000-2011: Live with Regis (TV series) - Herself
2008-2010: Arthur (TV series) - Bubbe/Camel
2007-2010: The Graham Norton Show (TV series) - Herself
2003-2010: The View (TV series) - Herself / Herself - Co-Host
2009-2010: The Apprentice (TV series) - Herself - Comedienne/Herself/Herself - Finalist/…
2010: Fashion Police with Joan Rivers (TV series)
2008-2009: Spaceballs: The Animated Series (TV series) - Dot Matrix
2005: Less Than Perfect (TV series) - Louise
2004: Dave the Barbarian (TV series) - Queen Zonthara
2004: Shrek 2 - Joan Rivers (voice)
2002: Hip! Edgy! Quirky! - Floressa
2000: Whispers: An Elephant's Tale - Spike (voice)
2000: Intern - Dolly Bellows
1999: Goosed - Blanche Silver
1998-1999: Suddenly Susan (TV series) - Edie
1999: KnitWits Revisited (TV movie) - Becky
1997: Another World (TV series) - Meredith Dunston
1997: KnitWits (short) - Becky
1997: Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist (TV series) - Joan
1995: Napoleon - Mother Penguin (voice)
1992: Lady Boss (TV movie) - Bibi Grant
1990: How to Murder a Millionaire (TV movie) - Irma
1989: Look Who's Talking - Julie (voice)
1987: Spaceballs - Dot Matrix (voice)
1987: Les Patterson Saves the World - President Rivers
1984: The Muppets Take Manhattan - Perfume saleswoman
1983: The Love Boat (TV series) - Allison Newman
1978: Rabbit Test - Nurse with Hot Colon
1972-1977: The Electric Company (TV series) - Narrator of 'The Adventures of Letterman'
1973: Needles and Pins (TV series)
1973: Here's Lucy (TV series) - Joan
1973: The Shape of Things (TV movie)
1968: The Swimmer - Joan