Departed

Joan Rivers: 1933-2014

A look back at the life of comedian Joan Rivers.

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Humble beginnings

Comedian, television host and actress Joan Rivers was born to Russian Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, New York. She eventually went on to work in theatre and television including her Daytime Emmy award-winning gig as host of "The Joan Rivers Show."

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Working her way up

Rivers graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University's Barnard College in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and anthropology. Before entering show business, she worked as a tour guide at Rockefeller Center in New York City, as a fashion consultant and as a writer at an ad agency.

AP

Big break

Rivers realized her love for performing so she began working in theater, including a role as a lesbian opposite a then-unknown Barbara Streisand. From acting, she turned to comedy working the New York City's comedy club circuit for several years before she got her big break in 1965 and made a memorable appears on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."

AP

'The Joan Rivers Show'

After her "Carson" appearance, Rivers was an instant hit. In the late 1960's, she landed her own show called "The Joan Rivers Show."

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Big announcement

In this Aug. 15, 1989 file photo, Joan Rivers proudly announced the start of her new syndicated talk show, "The Joan Rivers Show," in Los Angeles.

AP

Famous guests

In this Oct. 30, 1986 file photo, talk show host Joan Rivers, right, talks with guest, first lady Nancy Reagan, during her appearance on "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers."

AP

Setbacks

Rivers suffered several setbacks in both her professional and personal life. Her show "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers" was canceled in 1987 and she lost her husband of 22 years, Edgar Rosenberg to suicide the same year.

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Family

In this May 16, 1987 file photo shows Rivers, center, with her husband Edger Rosenberg, left and daughter Melissa, during happier times at Fox Broadcasting Studios in Los Angeles in 1987.

AP

Rivers returns

Rivers relaunched her career and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990. A few years later, she was nominated for a Tony Award for best actress for her work in "Sally Marr...and Her Escorts."

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Fashion critic

In 2010, Rivers joined E! News' "Fashion Police" as a co-host alongside Kelly Osbourne (L) Giuliana Rancic, and George Kotsiopoulos.

E!

Influential

Rivers paved the way for many female comediennes.

Reuters

Family affair

Rivers and her daughter Melissa co-starred in their own reality show, "Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?"

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'Roast of Joan Rivers'

Rivers greeted the audience at the "Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers" in Los Angeles in 2009.

AP

Controversial comments

The comedienne was known for her bold opinions, never shying away from speaking her mind.

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Recent work

Rivers has penned 12 books including several memoirs. She hosted a regular YouTube series called "In Bed With Joan."

E!

Joan Rivers: 1933-2014

A look back at the life of comedian Joan Rivers.

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