What's this? This is an unbiased just-the-facts news timeline ('newsline') about Joan Rivers, created by Newslines' contributors. Help us grow it by finding and summarising news. Learn more

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers107 posts

Joan Rivers was an American comedian and television show host born in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. Rivers first rose to fame as a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1965. She went on to host shows such as The Late Show, The Joan Rivers Show, Fashion Police, and Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? Movies that she appeared in include The Swimmer, Serial Mom, Les Patterson Saves The World, and The Intern. In 1989, she earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Rivers also won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 1990. She was married to James Sanger in 1955 and to producer Edgar Rosenberg from 1965 to 1987. Her daughter is television show host Melissa Rivers. In 2014, Rivers died in Manhattan, New York at the age of 81.

24 Feb, 2015

Oscar snub statement

Makes Statement

The Academy issues a statement regarding the omission of Rivers from the Oscars In Memorium segment.

Joan Rivers is among the many worthy artists and filmmakers we were unfortunately unable to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year’s Oscar show. She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on Oscar.com.

22 Feb, 2015

No memorium

Rivers is omitted from the In Memorium montage at the Oscars that recognizes industry figures who died the preceeding year. Slate magazine’s Dan Kois:

[Rivers] was one of the reasons that many of us even CARE about the Oscars—because we watched what happened after she disemboweled hapless celebrities on the red carpet. Yes, Rivers was not one to pull punches and mince words, and surely bruised many an ego during her decades-long career as a fashion commentator. But she was an equal opportunity offender; and her vitriol somehow never felt too personal. But the Academy choosing to leave her out of the ‘In Memoriam’ montage feels very personal indeed.

1 Dec, 2014

Replaces Rivers on Fashion Police

Griffin is to replace the late Joan Rivers on Fashion Police when the show returns to air with Golden Globes coverage on January 25.

I get it! These are some big shoes I’m going to fill. Joan was truly one of a kind. Now I hope you will accept me for me. I’m just Kathy. Did I say I’m just Kathy? I meant I’m Kathy F—ing Griffin and you celebrities better strap yourself in, as I am taking no prisoners. I am not holding back so DAMMIT let’s have some fun!

30 Nov, 2014

‘Maybe she would still be alive’

A timeline of the moments leading up to River’s death, pieced together from interviews, confidential EMT records and a federal report and published by The New York Post, suggests that River may have lived had her doctors reacted differently. The report indicates that Rivers’ doctors continued scoping procedures for fourteen minutes, even though her pulse and blood pressure were dropping. Insider:

They should have stopped the procedure and started resuscitation right away and done an emergency tracheotomy if there was any obstruction. Maybe she would still be alive.

10 Nov, 2014

‘I haven’t been able to mourn and grieve’

Osbourne discusses her late friend and mentor Joan River’s death on an appearance on the Today Show.

I can’t lie and say that I’m amazing. It’s something, to be honest with you, I really don’t like talking about because I haven’t been able to mourn and grieve the way that I want to.

Celebrity Apprentice judge

Trump announces that Rivers will appear on the new Celebrity Apprentice as a judge, in scenes filmed before her death in September. The two shows in which Rivers appears will be in tribute to the late comedian. Trump:

We decided, in memoriam, we’re going do something and honor her during those two shows. She was so good, and I think she would have liked it that way.

23 Oct, 2014

Inherits over $100 million

Melissa inherits $75 million in cash and a $35 million condo in New York’s Upper East Side from her late mother Joan’s estate. Source:

It’s no consolation for losing her mother so soon.

16 Oct, 2014

Cause of death: lack of oxygen

An investigation by the New York City office of the Chief Medical Examiner reveals that Rivers died due to lack of oxygen to the brain resulting in brain damage. The Medical Examiner’s office considers the manner of death “a predictable complication of medical therapy”. Melissa:

We continue to be saddened by our tragic loss and grateful for the enormous outpouring of love and support from around the world. We have no further comment at this time.

2 Oct, 2014

Lawsuit against doctor expected

Melissa Rivers is expected to file a lawsuit against Dr. Gwen Korovin, the doctor who performed the unscheduled biopsy during which Joan suffered cardiac arrest. Korovin continues to practice medicine. A friend of Melissa’s:

It’s very difficult to discuss something so unpleasant with her, but she is going to launch a lawsuit.

19 Sep, 2014

iPhone 6 Facebook post

A post appears on Rivers’s Facebook saying that she is replacing her 2010 model iPhone:

This badass is being replaced by an iPhone 6 (not the fat one). I got this one in 2010, and after 4 years, my only complaint is that apps are now designed for bigger screens, and the battery is getting tired.

Apparently an automated marketing message, the post is quickly deleted.

‘Fashion Police Tribute’ airs

Some of Rivers’ closest friends and confidants pay tribute to her in a special 90-minute Fashion Police episode on Friday, September 19, 2014. Melissa opens the show:

The last four years this set has been home to the funniest, most outrageous voice in comedy. This chair was the place a woman spoke the truth about celebrities and fashion in a way that was hilarious and absolutely 100 percent original. Tonight we want to say goodbye the only way my mom would want us to, by remembering the incredible jokes, the unbelievable guests, and all the moments on set and behind-the-scenes that made Fashion Police must-see television around the globe.

Rivers’ co-stars Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne  and George Kotsiopoulos all talk about Rivers and also show old clips and jokes from previous episodes with celebrity guest stars. Ranic was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and recalls what Rivers told her:

I came to the set for the first time, she said, ‘You got breast cancer, I heard. You’re gonna be fine. You know that, right? You’re having the surgery. You’re with a great doctor, at a great hospital.’ And you know what, she was right. And didn’t she finish with, ‘You’re gonna get perfect new tits?’

18 Sep, 2014

Melissa speaks for first time since funeral

Melissa speaks for the first time since her mother’s funeral by posting a message on Whosay.com:

As my son Cooper and I mourn the loss of my mother, we want to thank everyone for the beautiful cards and flowers conveying heartfelt messages and condolences, which continue to arrive from around the world and through social media. My mother would have been overwhelmed by the scope and depth of the love that people have expressed for her. It is certainly helping to lift our spirits during this time.

We are forever grateful for your kindness and support in continuing to honor my mother’s legacy, and for remembering the joy and laughter that she brought to so many.

Doctor’s name released

Members of the staff at Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic name Dr. Gwen Korovin as the doctor who allegedly performed an unauthorized biopsy of Rivers’ vocal chords, according to a source close to the investigation. Korovin is the same doctor who allegedly took a selfie while in the procedure room with Rivers. Other celebrities who have been treated by Korovin include: Hugh Jackman, Nathan Lane and singers Celine Dion, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. Dr. Korovin’s lawyer sends a statement to CNN  in response to the reports:

Gwen S. Korovin, M.D. is a highly experienced, board certified otolaryngologist.  She maintains privileges at one of the city’s most prestigious hospitals.  She is respected and admired by her peers in the medical community and she is revered by her patients. As a matter of personal and professional policy, Dr. Korovin does not publicly discuss her patients or their care and treatment.  Further, Dr. Korovin is prohibited by state and federal confidentiality laws from discussing her care and treatment of any particular patient. For these reasons, neither Dr. Korovin nor her attorneys will have any public comment on recent press reports regarding her practice.  We ask that the press please respect Dr. Korovin’s personal and professional policy of not discussing her patients, as well as the privacy of her patients.

16 Sep, 2014

Doctor took selfie during procedure

A Yorkville Endoscopy staff member tells investigators that River’s personal doctor, yet unidentified, takes selfie minutes before Rivers goes into cardiac arrest during an unscheduled throat biopsy. Rivers’ doctor is not certified by the clinic to perform a biopsy as required by New York law.

12 Sep, 2014

Gastroenterologist steps down

Dr. Lawrence CohenDr. Lawrence Cohen, Rivers gastroenterologist and medical director at Yorkville Endoscopy is no longer with the medical center. Yorkville Endoscopy spokesperson:

The gastroenterologist who performed the endoscopy on Joan Rivers is no longer performing procedures at the facility where the comedienne and actress went into cardiac arrest. Dr. Lawrence Cohen, the medical director of the facility, was asked to leave Yorkville Endoscopy and has since stepped down.

11 Sep, 2014

Dogs included in will

Rivers’ goddaughter Tracie Hotchner tells the Daily Mail that Rivers left “clear provisions” for her rescue dogs in the will. Rivers owned four dogs. Samantha and Teegan lived with her in New York City, and her Jack Russell Terrier and Border Collie stayed with her in California. New York Post columnist Cindy Adams revealed earlier that Samantha and Teegan were allowed to visit Joan in the hospital “for a moment to kiss mommy.” Hotchner:

How could you not love a woman who, when push came to shove, called her doggies her best friends and in later years said they were better companions than a husband because ‘They didn’t leave the seat up!’

9 Sep, 2014

Broadway League reverses decision

Reversing their initial ruling, The Broadway League will dim the lights on Broadway in tribute to Rivers. Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League:

Due to the outpouring of love and respect for Joan Rivers from our community and from her friends and fans worldwide, the marquees of Broadway theaters in New York will be dimmed in her memory tonight, at exactly 6:45pm for one minute.

8 Sep, 2014

The Talk interview


Judge Judy shares her thoughts on friend Rivers:

Joan was one of those people and she can’t be replaced, you’re absolutely right there are some people who just are so important to our history but more than that knowing her personally she was one of the kindest, most generous gracious ladies.

No Broadway tribute

The Broadway League decides not to dim the lights in a tribute to Rivers. Executive director Charlotte St. Martin explains the League’s decision not to honor Rivers with the tradition of dimming the lights on Broadway theater marquees:

Under our criteria people need to have been very active recently in the theater, or else be synonymous with Broadway — people who made their careers here, or kept it up. We love Joan – she was very supportive of Broadway and came to a lot of show openings – but she hasn’t acted on Broadway in 20 years… When you say Joan Rivers, you don’t think comedy, television and Broadway. You think comedy and television. It’s certainly nothing against her.

6 Sep, 2014

Leaves funeral home

Melissa Rivers delivers a final farewell to her mother, Rivers one day before her funeral. Melissa and her son Cooper trail Rivers hearse outside the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home before the coffin is taken to a New Jersey crematorium.

Funeral will get Red Carpet treatment


Us Weekly reports there will be a crimson carpet for guests to walk before paying their final respects to Rivers during her Sunday funeral. The carpeting outside the Temple Emanu-El on the East Side will be buried with Rivers. Rivers is known for making fashion critiques of celebrities on red carpet Hollywood events.

Melissa Rivers spent 90 minutes inside the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home on Friday working on the final arrangements. When asked how she is doing:

I’m all right.



The Medical Examiner’s Office completes the physical examination of Rivers body however, further information will be needed to determine exactly how she died. Medical Examiner’s Office:

We can’t find a clear cause and manner of death.

4 Sep, 2014

‘One of the classiest acts’

On his show, at times nearly in tears, Fallon pays tribute to Rivers who hosted The Tonight Show for Johnny Carson in the 1980’s on many occasions. Fallon says Rivers was “fearless” and “one of the funniest people in the world, ever.” He adds:

She would come out and just say what you were thinking, but you wouldn’t say it. You would stop, but she wouldn’t stop; she would just say it. And a lot of people thought her humor was mean, but she just did it because she wanted to make people laugh. That’s the goal. And she could take a joke just as easily as she could dish it out. One of the classiest acts. Love her so much. Class act all the way.



Rolling Stone releases the full text of an interview with Rivers from 2012. The magazine had only used some snippets of the text before.

Part of my act is meant to shake you up. It looks like I’m being funny, but I’m reminding you of other things. Life is tough, darling. Life is hard. And we better laugh at everything, otherwise we’re going down the tube.

Joan Rivers’ interview


In a an interview with Cooper, Griffin discusses her friendship with Joan Rivers, and recalls advice she gave her:

When you are a woman in this business, you have to hold on until your knuckles are white and they chop your fingers off. Then you hold on by your wrist, then you hold on by your elbows and you never let go.

‘RIP Joan Rivers’

Lovato comments on Rivers’ death:

RIP Joan Rivers… You made fun of my boobies just last week and it was an HONOR. Thanks for making so many people laugh here on Earth.

‘No one loved life, laughter, and a good time more than Joan’

Walters talks about the death of Rivers:

No one loved life, laughter, and a good time more than Joan. We would have dinner and laugh and gossip and I always left the table smiling. She was a brassy, often outrageous, and hilarious performer who made millions laugh.  In private, she was the picture of elegance and class.  I will miss her.

‘I adore Joan’


Rancic, co-host of Fashion Police show releases a statement:

It is almost impossible to describe how much I adore Joan and how much she has meant to me. She was not only the funniest woman I have ever met, but was incredibly loving, honest, and lived her life with no regrets. Working with her for the last 13 years has been one of the true joys of my life. She could put a smile on your face instantly, no matter how hard your day was. My heart goes out to Melissa and Cooper who have lost something that can never be replaced. Their bond was truly one of a kind. They had the greatest mother and grandmother anyone could have ever hoped for. My life is so much fuller and happier because I got to share it with this beautiful person, a true genius. I woke up today, unable to grasp what the world will be like without her, and at the same time, feel so privileged to have called her my friend.


Siriano comments on the passing of Rivers:

Heartbroken to hear about Joan Rivers. She was so kind to me, to my family, and she helped many people behind the scenes. RIP to the legend.

‘We will miss you’

McHale comments on the death of Rivers:

We will miss you Joan Rivers. What you did in your life was absolutely remarkable. Your rep for kindness to everyone was completely true

‘She was always fun’

Burnett comments on the passing of Rivers:

I knew Joan for 50 years, and she was always fun, charming and sweet to be with, and funny as hell. She was also the poster child for the ‘Energizer Bunny!’ My love goes out to Melissa and Cooper. I am very sad today.

‘A real pioneer’

Letterman reacts to the passing of Rivers:

Here’s a woman, a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy. And talk about guts—she would come out here and sit in this chair and say some things that were unbelievable, just where you would have to swallow pretty hard… but it was hilarious… the force of her comedy was overpowering.

‘Saddened by the passing of a fellow legend’

Ms. Piggy reacts to the passing of Rivers:

Moi is deeply saddened by the passing of my friend and fellow legend, Joan Rivers. From our first appearance together as battling make-up counter girls in The Muppets Take Manhattan to our recent appearances together on QVC (Joan called it “The Thrilla in Manolos”), we were always two of a kind. I will miss her. Can we talk?  You bet we can, Joan! Forever and ever!

‘A generous and caring spirit’

QVC reacts to the passing of Rivers:

We are greatly saddened by the loss of our dear friend Joan Rivers. She has been a special part of our QVC family for 24 years, and we knew Joan not only as an extraordinary comedian, writer, producer and business leader, but as a generous and caring spirit, who inspired us to be better every day. Joan truly loved her customers, and delighted in bringing joy and inspiration to their lives over these last many years. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family, friends and fans.

Forbes magazine says that in her 24 years at QVC Rivers sold more than $1 billion of merchandise. In the year before her death she sold 1.2 million products through the shopping channel. Her line of brooches, scarves and dresses extended to over 6000 items. Her big-sellers included the Pave Crystal Lovebirds Brooch, for $150 and the Starlet Style 20 necklace, for $112. Rivers first appeared on QVC on September 29, 1990.

‘She inspired every comic I know’

Schumer reacts to the death of Rivers:

Joan was hilarious and relevant all the way to the end.  She inspired every comic I know and we will carry her with us and quote her jokes forever. When I met her at the premiere of her movie, A Piece of Work she was so kind and wanted to make sure all the comics were going to stay so we could all hang out together. I thought that was so cool. Such a pro, such a hard worker. This was a huge loss for us all.

‘Truly an inspiration’

Eichner reacts to the passing of Rivers:

Joan was truly an inspiration. She encouraged me long before anyone else and she did that for many comedians and writers she believed in. She was a joy to be around and she led a truly fabulous life. I will never forget her and will miss her terribly.

‘A great comedian and a wonderful person’

Louis C.K. comments on the death of Rivers:

I feel very lucky that I knew Joan Rivers and I feel very sad that she’s gone.  She was a great comedian and a wonderful person.   I never saw someone attack a stage with so much energy.  She was a controlled lightning bolt.  She was a prolific and unpredictable, joyful joke writer.   She loved comedy.  She loved the audience.  She was a great actress and should have done that more.    She loved living and working.  She was kind.  She was real.  She was brave. She was funny and you just wanted to be around her.  I looked up to her.  I learned from her.  I loved her. I liked her.  And I already miss her very much.  It really f–king sucks that she had to die all of a sudden.

What's this? This is an unbiased just-the-facts news timeline ('newsline') about Joan Rivers, created by Newslines' contributors. Help us grow it by finding and summarising news. Learn more