Although in her later career, she was known for her fashion quips and myriad trips to the plastic surgeon, Rivers was also a pioneering woman in stand-up comedy whose hilarious self-deprecating humor, biting one-liners and "can we talk?" catchphrase got her bookings in Las Vegas and on The Tonight Show, where Johnny Carson declared her a future star in 1965. The kooky comedian did indeed become a celebrity — primarily as a host, although she also appeared in a number of TV shows and movies (usually as herself or some version thereof). Carson provided a big career boost by booking her as guest host of his show, a regular gig that ended when Rivers angered the late-night king by launching her own short-lived show in 1986. She bounced back in the 1990s, hosting a number of daytime talk shows, appearing on Broadway, hawking her own jewelry line on QVC, playing herself in a TV-movie about her dramatic life and finally signing on to E! Entertainment Television in 1995 (along with her only child, Melissa) to cohost fashion and preaward-show programs from the red carpet. The duo jumped to the TV Guide Channel in 2005, but left two years later and eventually returned to E!
Was billed early in her career as Pepper January, Comedy with Spice.
Wrote for Candid Camera.
In 1961, worked with Chicago's Second City improv group.
In 1988, replaced Linda Lavin on Broadway in Neil Simon's Broadway Bound.
Won a Daytime Emmy in 1990 for Outstanding Talk Show Host for The Joan Rivers Show.
In the 1994 biopic Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story, she and her daughter played themselves.
Had a lucrative side job pushing her own line of jewelry on QVC.
Played herself in the second-season finale of Nip/Tuck.
Collected Fabergé eggs.
Posthumously nominated for a Grammy award for Best Spoken Word Album for her album Diary of a Mad Diva, in 2014.
2014, Grammy — Best Spoken Word Album: Winner
1994, Tony — Actress (Play): Nominee
James Sanger — Ex-husband
Beatrice Molinsky — Mother
Edgar Rosenberg — Husband (deceased)
Barbara Molinsky — Sister
Melissa Rivers — Daughter
Meyer C. Molinsky — Father
Attended Connecticut College for Women, New London, Connecticut, United States; Barnard College, New York, New York, United States (BA, 1954)