Joan Rivers ’54

Joan Rivers (Molinsky) ’54 was a well-known comedian, as well as host of the popular TV show Fashion Police, a QVC TV sales personality for the Joan Rivers collection of clothing and accessories, and frequent critic of who wears what on the red carpet. Since 2013, she had also been host and producer of a weekly talk show on YouTube, In Bed with Joan, which took place in her bedroom in daughter Melissa’s house in Malibu, California. Born Joan Molinsky, she took the stage name “Rivers.” Long considered one of the hardest working people in show business, she started her theatrical career by appearing in small plays and then at comedy clubs. Her break occurred on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show in 1965. She went on to have her own daytime TV talk show, appeared many more times on Carson’s show and The Ed Sullivan Show, had a part in Burt Lancaster’s 1969 film, The Swimmer, and wrote a dozen books. Her syndicated talk show, The Joan Rivers Show, won a Daytime Emmy in 1990. She was the focus of the highly regarded 2010 documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. She received Barnard’s 2004 Woman of Achievement Award.

Rivers died in September 2014. From her New York Times obituary: "She was one of America’s first successful female stand-up comics in an aggressive vein that had been almost exclusively the province of men, from Don Rickles to Lenny Bruce. And she was a role model and an inspiration for tough-talking comedians like Roseanne Barr, Sarah Silverman, and countless others."