Joan Rivers was a remarkable woman who definitely opened the door for a lot of women on TV and in comedy today. Many saw her stand-up routines or watched her E! TV show, “Fashion Police,” but Rivers, who died yesterday, on September 4 at the age of 81, but Joan Rivers was much more than the comedic persona and the witty one-liners.
She was much more than a controversial woman and so we have put together 6 things that you should really know about Joan Rivers:
She Didn’t Let Sexism Stop Her: Climbing up the ladder of her career Joan Rivers faced quite a lot of trouble but was able to press on each tie. The odds were not in her favour because she was a woman but she did not let that stop her. When she opened for a two-week run at the Bitter End, a New York nightclub, a reviewer wrote that she was “an unusually bright girl who is overcoming the handicap of a woman comic, looks pretty and blonde and bright and yet manages to make people laugh.” Within five years, the paper was marveling that she could be both “funny and feminine.” By 1986, she had her own late-night show and her throwaway line, “Can we talk?” had become a household expression.
Joan Rivers Was Not Her Given Name: The comedian was born Joan Molinsky, but at the urge of her agent, Tony Rivers, she adopted a stage name. On a whim, she chose “Joan Rivers,” just because it felt right. “Having a stage name made it easier to perform in those raunchy nightclubs,” she told the Evening News newspaper in 1986. “Joan Rivers was like a party dress I put on, so in those early days, she was only the tiniest part of me and Joan Molinsky was still frightened and confused and bewildered in her life.”
She Was Open About Everything, Even Plastic Surgery: “I just hosted the Miss USA Pageant and, let me tell you, beautiful gets you everywhere. The New York Times had an article maybe six months ago: Babies respond to pretty faces. So stop telling everyone it’s OK not to be pretty! If you can fix it, fix it!” she told Entertainment Weekly in 2010. “If it makes you happier. I love to look in the mirror and say, ‘For 77, you look good.’ That’s all. I don’t care what anyone says. Not bad for 77.” However, it wasn’t always easy. In a clip from her reality TV series with her daughter, Melissa, Rivers was captured by cameras crying before going into surgery. “Oh God, what a s***** business this is,” she said. “You have to look good.”
She Turned Her Liabilities Into Assets: With a self-deprecating sense of humor, Rivers made fun of her own looks, flat-chestedness, plastic surgery, marriage, and ultimately her husband’s suicide. Unlike others of her generation who tried to lose their pronounced Brooklyn accent, she turned that and her raspy voice into part of her comic routine.
She Tuned Out The Critics: Joan Rivers definitely pushed the envelope with her humor and was criticized at times for being offensive. If it bothered her, she rarely let it show. A more common reaction was something along the lines of, “Oh, grow up!”
She Was a Huge Animal Lover: After her husband committed suicide in 1987, she too considered ending her life. However, she was saved by her dog, Spike. “I was sitting in this big empty house in Bel Air, with a phone with five extensions which we no longer needed. I had the gun in my lap, and the dog sat on the gun. I lecture on suicide because things turn around,” she told the Daily Beast. “I tell people this is a horrible, awful dark moment, but it will change and you must know it’s going to change and you push forward. I look back and think, ‘Life is great, life goes on. It changes.’” As she got older, she made sure to set aside money for her pets when she made her will.
Source: Forbes, ABC