Jewish Name - Joan Alexandra Molinsky
Joan Rivers, is an
American television personality, comedian, and actress. Joan Rivers
is known for Joan Rivers' brash manner; Joan Rivers' loud, raspy
voice with a heavy New York accent; and Joan Rivers' numerous
cosmetic surgeries. Joan Rivers' comic style relies heavily on Joan
Rivers' ability to poke fun at herself and other Hollywood
Joan Alexandra Molinsky
was born on June 8, 1933 under Joan Rivers'
Jewish name of Joan Alexandra
Molinsky in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City. Joan Rivers was
the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants Beatrice (née Grushman;
January 6, 1906 – October 1975) and Meyer C. Molinsky (December 7,
1900 – January 1985). Joan Rivers was raised in Brooklyn, New
York, and Joan Rivers' family later moved to Larchmont, in
Westchester County, New York. Joan Rivers attended Connecticut
College between 1950 and 1952 and graduated from Barnard College in
1954 with a bachelor-of-arts degree in English literature and
anthropology. Before entering show business, Joan Rivers worked at
various jobs such as a tour guide at Rockefeller Center, a
writer/proofreader at an advertising agency and as a fashion
consultant at Bond Clothing Stores. During this period, the agent
Tony Joan Rivers advised Joan Rivers' to change Joan Rivers' name,
so Joan Rivers chose Joan Rivers as Joan Rivers' stage name.
During the late 1950s, Joan Rivers appeared in a short-run play,
Driftwood, playing a lesbian with a crush on a character played by a
then-unknown Barbra Streisand. The play ran for six weeks. In
1961, Joan Rivers briefly performed on stage in Chicago at The
Second City comedy club. Joan Rivers performed in numerous comedy
clubs in the Greenwich Village area of New York City in the early
1960s, including The Bitter End and The Gaslight Cafe, before
making Joan Rivers' first appearances as a guest on the TV program
The Tonight Show originating from New York, hosted at the time by
By 1965, Joan Rivers had a stint on Candid Camera as a gag writer
and participant; Joan Rivers was "the bait" to lure people into
ridiculous situations for the show. Joan Rivers also made Joan
Rivers' first appearance on The Tonight Show with new host Johnny
Carson, on February 17, 1965. During the same decade, Joan
Rivers made other appearances on The Tonight Show as well as The Ed
Sullivan Show, while hosting the first of several talk shows. Joan
Rivers wrote material for the puppet Topo Gigio. Joan Rivers had a
brief role in The Swimmer (1968), starring Burt Lancaster. A year
later, Joan Rivers had a short-lived syndicated daytime talk show;
Johnny Carson was Joan Rivers' first guest. In the middle of the
1960s, Joan Rivers released at least two comedy albums, The Next to
Last Joan Rivers Album and Joan Rivers Presents Mr. Phyllis &
Other Funny Stories.
By the 1970s, Joan Rivers was appearing on various television comedy
and variety shows, including The Carol Burnett Show and a
semi-regular stint on Hollywood Squares. From 1972 to 1976, Joan
Rivers narrated The Adventures of Letterman, an animated segment for
The Electric Company. In 1973, Joan Rivers wrote the TV movie The
Girl Most Likely to..., a black comedy starring Stockard Channing.
In 1978, Joan Rivers wrote and directed the film Rabbit Test,
starring Joan Rivers' friend Billy Crystal. During the same decade,
Joan Rivers was the opening act for singer Helen Reddy on the Las
Vegas Strip. In July 1970, Joan Rivers performed as the opening act
for Sergio Franchi during an acclaimed appearance at the Mill Run
Theater in Chicago and also opened for Franchi at the MGM Grand
Hotel from 1974-1976. Joan Rivers became a Las Vegas Strip
headliner herself in the 1980s.
Joan Rivers has spoken of Joan Rivers' primary Tonight Show life as
having been Johnny Carson's daughter, a reference to his longtime
mentoring of Joan Rivers' and, during the 1980s, establishing Joan
Rivers' as his regular guest host by August 1983. It was not Joan
Rivers' only work, however. On April 9, 1983, Joan Rivers hosted
Saturday Night Live. In the same period, Joan Rivers released a
best-selling comedy album on Geffen Records, What Becomes a
Semi-Legend Most? The album reached No. 22 on the U.S. Billboard 200
and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
Autograph with famous catchphrase, about 1983
Also in 1984, Joan Rivers published a best-selling humor book, The
Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abramowitz, a mock memoir of Joan
Rivers' brassy, loose comedy character. A television special based
on the character, a mock tribute called Joan Rivers and Friends
Salute Heidi Abramowitz, was not successful with the public.
The decade was controversial for Joan Rivers. Joan Rivers sued
female impersonator Frank Marino for $5,000,000 in 1986, after
discovering he was using Joan Rivers' real stand-up material in the
impersonation of Joan Rivers' that he included in his popular Las
Vegas act. The two comics reconciled, even appearing together on
television in later years.
Also in 1986 came the move that cost Joan Rivers Joan Rivers'
longtime friendship with Carson, who had first hired Joan Rivers' as
a Tonight Show writer. The soon-to-launch Fox Television Network
announced that it was giving Joan Rivers' a late night talk show,
The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers. The new network planned to
broadcast the show 11:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time, making
Joan Rivers' a Carson competitor. Carson claimed he learned of the
show from Fox and not from Joan Rivers herself. In 2008, during an
interview with Dr. Pamela Connolly on television's Shrink Rap, Joan
Rivers claimed Joan Rivers did call Carson, but he hung up on Joan
Rivers' at once and repeated the gesture when Joan Rivers called
The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers turned out to be flecked by
tragedy. When Joan Rivers challenged Fox executives, who wanted to
fire Joan Rivers' husband Edgar Rosenberg as the show's producer,
the network fired them both. On May 15, 1987, three months later,
Rosenberg committed suicide in Philadelphia; Joan Rivers blamed the
tragedy on his "humiliation" by Fox. Fox attempted to continue
the show with a new name (The Late Show) and rotating guest hosts.
A year after the Late Show debacle, Joan Rivers was a guest on TV's
Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special. By 1989, Joan Rivers tried
another daytime TV talk show, The Joan Rivers Show, which ran
for five years and won Joan Rivers' an Emmy in 1990 for outstanding
talk show host.
In 1994, Joan Rivers and daughter Melissa first hosted the E!
Entertainment Television pre-awards show for the Golden Globe
Awards. Beginning in 1995, they hosted the annual E!
Entertainment Television pre-awards show for the Academy Awards.
Beginning in 1997, Joan Rivers hosted Joan Rivers' own radio show on
WOR in New York City.
Joan Rivers also appeared as one of the center square occupants on
the 1986-89 version of The Hollywood Squares, hosted by John
By 2003, Joan Rivers had left Joan Rivers' E! red-carpet show for a
three-year contract (valued at $6–8 million) to cover award-show
red-carpet shows for the TV Guide Channel.
Joan Rivers poses for a photograph at the Pierre Hotel, May 24, 2001
Joan Rivers appeared in three episodes of the TV show Nip/Tuck
during its second, third and seventh season playing
herself. Joan Rivers appears regularly on television's
The Shopping Channel (in Canada) and QVC (in both the United States
and the UK), promoting Joan Rivers' own line of jewelry under brand
name "The Joan Rivers Collection". Joan Rivers was also a guest
speaker at the opening of the American Operating Room Nurses' 2000
San Francisco Conference. Both Joan and Melissa Joan Rivers are
frequent guests on Howard Stern's radio show, and Joan Rivers often
appears as a guest on UK panel show 8 out of 10 Cats.
Joan Rivers was one of only four Americans invited to the Wedding of
Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles on 9 April
In 2006, Joan Rivers was featured on the adult animated show, Drawn
Together as Princess Clara's vagina that had received too much
plastic surgery. Clara's 'vajoana' often repeated the phrase "who
are you wearing, who are you wearing?".
On August 16, 2007, Joan Rivers began a two-week workshop of Joan
Rivers' new play, with the working title "The Joan Rivers Theatre
Project," at The Magic Theatre in San Francisco. On December 3,
2007, Joan Rivers performed in the Royal Variety Show 2007 at the
Liverpool Empire Theatre, England, with Queen Elizabeth II and
Prince Philip present.
In January 2008, Joan Rivers became one of 20 hijackers to take
control of the Big Brother house in the UK for one day in spin-off
TV show Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack. On June 24, 2008, Joan Rivers
appeared on NBC-TV’s show Celebrity Family Feud and competed with
Joan Rivers' daughter, Melissa against Ice-T and Coco.
Joan Rivers performing in Joan Rivers' show at the 2008 Edinburgh
Joan Rivers and daughter Melissa were contestants in 2009 on the
second Celebrity Apprentice. Throughout the season, each celebrity
raised money for a charity of his or Joan Rivers' choice; Joan
Rivers selected God's Love We Deliver. After a falling out with
poker player Annie Duke, following Melissa's on-air firing
(elimination) by Donald Trump, Joan Rivers left the green room
telling Clint Black and Jesse G. James that Joan Rivers would not be
in the next morning. Joan Rivers later returned to the show and on
May 3, 2009, Joan Rivers became a finalist in the series. The other
finalist was Duke. On the season finale, which aired live on
May 10, Joan Rivers was announced the winner and hired to be the
2009 Celebrity Apprentice.
Joan performing at a London Udderbelly event in 2009
Joan Rivers was featured on the show Z Rock as herself and was also
a special so-called pink-carpet presenter for the 2009 broadcast of
the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. Joan Rivers was also
roasted in a Comedy Central special, taped on July 26, 2009, and
aired on August 9, 2009. From August 2009, Joan Rivers began
starring in the new reality TV series How'd You Get So Rich? on TV
Land. A documentary film about Joan Rivers, Joan Rivers: A Piece of
Work, premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival at
the Castro Theatre on May 6, 2010. In 2011, Joan Rivers appeared in
a commercial for Go Daddy, which debuted during the broadcast of
Super Bowl XLV.
Joan and Joan Rivers' daughter Melissa Joan Rivers premiered the new
show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best on WE tv. The series follows
Joan moving to California to be closer to Joan Rivers' family. Joan
Rivers moves in with daughter Melissa while searching for a home of
Joan Rivers' own. It was recently revealed that WE TV has ordered a
new season consisting of 10 episodes premiering in January 2012. In
2011, Joan Rivers was featured as herself in Season 2 of Louis
C.K.'s self-titled show Louie, where Joan Rivers performed on-stage.
Since September 10, 2010, Joan Rivers has been co-hosting the E!
show Fashion Police, along with Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and
George Kotsiopoulos commenting on the do's and don'ts of celebrity
fashion. The show started as a half-hour program, but expanded to
one hour on March 9, 2012.
On August 7, 2012, Joan Rivers showed up in Burbank, California to
protest that the warehouse-club Costco will not sell Joan Rivers'
New York Times bestselling book, "I Hate Everyone … Starting with
Me". Joan Rivers handcuffed herself to someone's shopping cart and
shouted through a megaphone. The police were called to the scene and
Joan Rivers left without incident and no arrests were made.
Joan Rivers' first marriage was in 1955 to James Sanger, the son
of a Bond Clothing Stores merchandise manager. The marriage lasted
six weeks and was annulled on the basis that Sanger did not want
children and had not informed Joan Rivers before the wedding.
Joan Rivers' second marriage was on July 15, 1965 to Edgar
Rosenberg, who committed suicide in 1987. Their only child, Melissa
Warburg Rosenberg (now known as Melissa Joan Rivers), was born on
January 20, 1968. Joan Rivers has one grandson, Melissa's son Cooper
(born Edgar Cooper Endicott on December 1, 2000) who is featured
with his mother and grandmother in the WE tv series Joan & Melissa:
Joan Knows Best?
In Joan Rivers' book, Bouncing Back (1997), Joan Rivers described
how Joan Rivers developed bulimia and contemplated suicide.
Eventually, Joan Rivers recovered with counseling and the support of
Joan Rivers' family.
In 2002, Joan Rivers told the Montreal Mirror that Joan Rivers was a
On the June 5, 2012 Howard Stern satellite radio program, Joan
Rivers said Joan Rivers had several extramarital affairs when
married to Rosenberg. According to Joan Rivers,
she had a
one-night sexual encounter with actor Robert Mitchum in the 1960s
after an appearance together on The Tonight Show. Joan Rivers also
had an extended affair with actor Gabriel Dell during the
out-of-town and Broadway productions of Joan Rivers' play, Fun City,
in 1971, for which Joan Rivers told Stern Joan Rivers "left Edgar
over" for several weeks.
Joan Rivers is open about Joan Rivers' multiple cosmetic surgeries
and has been a patient of plastic surgeon Steven Hoefflin since
1983. Joan Rivers' first procedure, an eye lift, was performed in
1965 as an attempt to further Joan Rivers' career.
In 1990, Joan Rivers won the Daytime Emmy Award (a TV citation) for
Outstanding Talk Show Host. The same year, a star in Joan Rivers'
name was placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Having a Baby Can Be a Scream (1974, Self-Help/Humour)
The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz (1984, Humour)
Enter Talking (1986, Autobiography)
Still Talking (1991, Autobiography)
Jewelry by Joan Rivers (1995, Non-Fiction)
Bouncing Back: I've Survived Everything ... and I Mean Everything
... and You Can Too! (1997, Autobiography/Self-Help)
From Mother to Daughter: Thoughts and Advice on Life, Love and
Marriage (1998, Self-Help)
Don’t Count the Candles: Just keep the Fire Lit! (1999, Self-Help)
Men Are Stupid...And They Like Big Boobs: A Woman's Guide to Beauty
Through Plastic Surgery (2008, Non-Fiction)
Murder at the Academy Awards (R): A Red Carpet Murder Mystery (2009,
I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me (2012, Humour)
Once Upon a Coffee House (1965)
The Swimmer (1968)
Rabbit Test (1978) (also director and writer)
Uncle Scam (1981)
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
Les Patterson Saves the World (1987)
Spaceballs (1987) (voice)
Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (1988)
Look Who's Talking (1989) (voice)
Public Enemy # 2 (1993)
Serial Mom (1994)
Napoleon (1995) (voice)
The Intern (2000)
Whispers: An Elephant's Tale (2000) (voice)
The Making and Meaning of 'We Are Family' (2002) (documentary)
Hip! Edgy! Quirky! (2002)
Shrek 2 (2004) (voice)
First Daughter (2004)
The Last Guy on Earth (2007)
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) (documentary)
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) (uncredited)
The Smurfs (2011) (uncredited)
Tower Heist (2011) (uncredited)
That Show starring Joan Rivers (1968–69) (syndicated daytime talk
The Electric Company (cast member from 1972–1977) (voice)
Here's Lucy (1973)
An Audience with Joan Rivers (1984)
Joan Rivers: Can We Talk? (1986)
The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers (host from 1986–1987)
The New Hollywood Squares hosted by John Davidson (center square
The Joan Rivers Show (1989–1993)
How to Murder a Millionaire (1990)
Lady Boss (1992)
Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Joan Rivers Story
Can We Shop? (1995–present)
Another World (cast member in 1997)
E! True Hollywood Story: Joan Rivers (parody episode of show aired
April 1, 2001)
Jack Dee Live at the Apollo (cast member in 2004, guest host in
The Joan Rivers Position (2004–2006)
An Audience with Joan Rivers (2006)
8 out of 10 Cats (2006–2007)
Joan Rivers: Before Melissa Pulls the Plug (2006)
Dawn French's Girls Who Do Comedy (in-depth interview BBC 2006)
Straight Talk (2007)
Shrink Rap (2008) – With Dr. Pamela Connolly – More4
Celebrity Family Feud (2008)
Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack (Celebrity Hijacker) (2008)
Loose Women (2008)
Z Rock (2008) – Aunt Joan
Spaceballs: The Animated Series (2008) (voice)
Arthur (2008, 2010) (voice) – Bubby (Francine's Grandmother)
Celebrity Apprentice 2 (2009) – Herself
How'd You Get So Rich? (2009) – Herself
The Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers (2009) – Herself
Celebrity Ghost Stories (2009) – Herself
Celebrity Apprentice 3 (March 14, 2010)
Fashion Police (September 10, 2010 – present)
Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best (January 25, 2011 – present)
Louie – Joan (July 14, 2011) – Herself
The Simpsons S23E08 – "The Ten-Per-Cent Solution" (December 4, 2011)
(voice) – Annie Dubinsky
The following is a selected list of theater work performed by Joan
Broadway Bound by Neil Simon (replacement for Kate, 1988, Broadhurst
Sally Marr and Joan Rivers' Escorts, a play suggested by the life of
Lenny Bruce's mother (co-written with Erin Ladd Sanders and Lonny
Price), May 1994, Helen Hayes Theatre, Broadway.
Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress By A Life In Progress (February
2008, Geffen Playhouse)
Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress By A Life In Progress (August 2008,
Edinburgh Festival Fringe)
Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress By A Life In Progress (September
2008, Leicester Square Theatre, London)
Pfefferman, Naomi (2007-12-27). "Joan Rivers’ ‘Life’—audacious, as
always|Arts In L.A.". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
Biography (1933?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
Joan Rivers, Joan (1986). Autobiography: Enter Talking. New
York: Delacorte Press, First Printing
Autobiography: Bouncing Back (1997), HarperCollins. p. 74-75
Riley, Sam G. (1995) Biographical Dictionary of American Newspaper
Columnists, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 265 ISBN
Sochen, June (1998). "From Sophie Tucker to Barbra Streisand:
Jewish Women Entertainers as Reformers". Talking Back: Images of
Jewish Women in American Popular Culture. Ed. Joyce Antler. Brandeis
series in American Jewish history, culture, and life. Hanover, NH:
Brandeis University Press Published by University Press of New
England. pp. 68-84.
Enter Talking, p. 85-96 and last photo insert page before p. 183
Enter Talking, p. 230
Enter Talking, p. 233-239
Enter Talking, p. 359-373
"The Joan Rivers Show". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
"The Next to Last Joan Rivers Album".
"Joan Rivers Presents Mr. Phyllis & Other Funny Stories".
Leonard, Will (July 3, 1970). "Mill Run show recalls golden age."
The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL
Wright, Robert A. (January 27, 1974). "What's Doing in Las Vegas."
The New York Times, New York
"Las Vegas Club Acts." (February 15, 1976), The Dallas Morning
News, Dallas, TX
"Saturday Night Live". IMDB. 1983-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
"Grammy Awards". Metrolyrics.com. 1984-02-28. Retrieved
Frank Marino discusses law suit
King, Norman (1993). Arsenio Hall. New York: William Morrow & Co.,
Joanne Kaufman, Alan Carter, "Rocked by Tragedy and Failure, Joan
Rivers Comes Back with a New Show and a New Life", People, February
"The Joan Rivers Show". IMDB. 2001-05-25. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
TV Guide Guide to TV. Barnes and Noble. 2004. p. 331. ISBN
Bouncing Back!, p. 207
"Entertainment & the Arts | TV briefs: Joan Rivers duo may leave
E! for TV Guide Channel | Seattle Times Newspaper".
Community.seattletimes.nwsource.com. 2004-06-25. Retrieved
"Nip/Tuck Episode: "Joan Rivers"". TVGuide.com. Lionsgate. October
5, 2004. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
"Nip/Tuck Episode: "Ben White"". TVGuide.com. Lionsgate. November
1, 2005. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
"Nip/Tuck Episode: "Hiro Yoshimura"". TVGuide.com. Lionsgate.
March 3, 2010. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
"A Yankee in the court of Prince Charles". The Sunday Times. June
"San Francisco". Magic Theatre. Retrieved 2009-04-29.[dead link]
"Joan Rivers". The Celebrity Apprentice. NBC. Retrieved
Catlin, Roger (2009-04-27). "'Celebrity Apprentice': Joan Rivers
Run". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
"Joan Rivers defends daughter on 'Celebrity Apprentice'".
Associated Press. 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
Weiss, Shari (2011-02-07). "Joan Rivers Go Daddy Super Bowl
commerical [sic]: Is that really the 77-year-old comedienne's
body?". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
Abbey, Jennifer. "Joan Rivers Chains Herself to Costco Shopping
Cart in Protest". ABC News. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
Enter Talking, p. 67-71
Enter Talking, fourth page of photo inserts between p. 182-183
Enter Talking, p. 70
Enter Talking epilogue, p. 375
Fink, Mitchell (2000-12-02). "Stars To Swell Cathedral For Mottola
Wedding". Articles.nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
"Joan Rivers is a nice person – really". The Miami Herald. June
Hays, Matthew (2002). "Can Joan Rivers talk". Montreal Mirror.
Retrieved May 18, 2010.
["Joan Rivers on Howard Stern (6/5/12)"]. Sirius Radio. June 5,
Kron, Joan (July 2005). "Nip/Talk". Allure (Condé Nast
Publications). Retrieved 2011-01-11.
"Awards for Joan Rivers". IMDb.
"Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Joan Rivers Story".
Imdb.com. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
"E! True Hollywood Story: Joan Rivers". Imdb.com. Retrieved
"''Season 2 Episode 16''". Tv.com. 2007-09-08. Retrieved
"Broadway Bound - Replacements". Ibdb.com. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
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