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Groundbreaking Comedian Joan Rivers Dead At 81

She inspired and mentored an entire generation of comedians.

Joan Rivers, one of the last of the old-time comedians, is dead:

Comedian Joan Rivers died today at the age of 81 following complications with throat surgery on her vocal chords. Rivers was rushed to the hospital Thursday after she stopped breathing during the routine procedure. She had been unconscious in a medically-induced coma since she entered the hospital.

Rivers got her start as a guest on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1965, often filling in as host for Johnny Carson over the years. But after she took a job as a rival host on the Fox network with consulting Carson, he banned her from the Tonight Show, a situation that stayed in effect until she briefly appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s first night as host earlier this year.

The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers only lasted one season, but she went on to successful stint of reality shows later in life, including Fashion Police and Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best? with her daughter Melissa Rivers.

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