(AP) - Joan Rivers, the raucous, acid-tongued comedian who crashed the male-dominated realm of late-night talk shows and turned Hollywood red carpets into danger zones for badly dressed celebrities, died Thursday. She was 81.
Rivers died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, surrounded by family and close friends, daughter Melissa Rivers said. She was hospitalized Aug. 28 after going into cardiac arrest in a doctor's office following a routine procedure. The New York state health department is investigating the circumstances.
"My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," Melissa Rivers said. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."
Under the immobile, plastic surgery-crafted veneer that became Joan Rivers' unapologetic trademark as she aged, her wit remained as vibrantly raw and unruly as when she first broke her way into a comedy world belonging largely to men. In a 2010 "Late Show" interview, David Letterman broached the plastic surgery issue: "You don't look exactly like the Joan Rivers I used to know." Rivers was unapologetic.
"Our business is so youthful. ... You do little tweaks, and I think if a woman wants to look good, or a man, do it," she said. "It's not about anybody else."
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