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Joan Rivers: Her Life in Photos

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

HER BIG BREAK

In 1965, after years of struggling, Rivers did her stand-up act on The Tonight Show, where the young comedienne, now making a name for herself with her sharp-tongued humor and trademark line "Can we talk?", won over host Johnny Carson. With the cameras rolling, he told her, "You're going to be a star" – and, indeed, her career took off. "He gave me everything," she told PEOPLE.