A true New Yorker from the start, Joan Molinsky was born in Brooklyn on June 8, 1933 to Russian-immigrant parents Dr. Meyer and Beatrice Molinsky. The family eventually relocated to Larchmont, New York prior to Joan attending and graduating from Barnard College in 1954.
For over 50 years, Joan pioneered her own brand of irreverent, unconventional comedy, first enduring tawdry clubs, Borscht Belt showrooms, and grimy Greenwich Village cabarets. She was never one to give up and her relentless work ethic allowed her comedy to evolve, and her audiences continued to grow. She soon headlined in Las Vegas and throughout the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Canada.
Joan’s fame skyrocketed in 1968 when she first appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Within three years she was hosting That Show with Joan Rivers, one of the first syndicated daytime talk shows on the air, and made television history as the permanent guest host of The Tonight Show, where she coined her iconic catchphrase, “Can we talk?” In 1984, Joan received her first Grammy nomination for her gold-selling comedy album, “What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?”
Despite being constantly in motion, Joan worked tirelessly on behalf of charities that were close to her heart: God’s Love We Deliver, Guide Dogs for the Blind and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She also dedicated herself as a longtime spokesperson for both the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
Joan passed away on September 4, 2014 in New York City. Her enduring legacy as an entertainer and as a humanitarian lives on.
Source: Joan Rivers