Joan Rivers: Her Life in Photos

Comedienne, talk-show host, fashion critic, trailblazer: The riveting Rivers kept audiences laughing for more than 50 years

THE EARLY DAYS

Born Joan Molinsky in Brooklyn, New York, on June 8, 1933, Rivers got her first taste of performing at New York's Barnard College, where the literature/anthropology major appeared in numerous productions. After graduation, she became a buyer for a clothing chain and married the owner's son. When that marriage ended after six months, Rivers tried her hand at acting, and in 1959 played opposite then-unknown Barbra Streisand in an Off-Broadway play. But she soon switched to comedy, testing out her skills in nightclubs and coffeehouses in New York City.