Joan Rivers

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UPDATE: Joan Rivers' inimitable career remains one for the ages. We honor her on the first anniversary of her untimely passing by taking a look at the road she took from her early days as a young stand-up to her eventual role as comedy's grande dame.

While many of us remember Joan Rivers for her hilarious jokes on Fashion Police, the late comic's career spans decades in Hollywood. 

And despite the fact that the comedian undoubtedly died too soon—having passed away at the age of 81 on Thursday after suffering from complications while undergoing a recent throat operation in New York City—we are blessed to have her wonderful life to look back on. 

Rivers first rose to fame after landing a guest appearance in 1965 on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where she was later named a permanent guest host in 1983. 

But the actress' many talk show appearances (and hosting stints of her own) are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the legend's lengthy resume. 

So as we mourn the passing of the iconic comic, let's take a look back at her countless achievements: 

Ed Sullivan, Joan Rivers

CBS via Getty Images

•Rivers was born Joan Alexandra Molinsky in Brooklyn, New York in 1933.

•Prior to entering showbiz, Joan worked various jobs before adopting the stage name Joan Rivers. During the late 1950s, she went on to star opposite a then-unknown Barbra Streisand in the short-lived play Driftwood before continuing on to perform in numerous comedy clubs throughout the early 1960s.

•In 1965, Joan became a household name after landing in the spotlight during a guest appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She then continued to make appearances on The Tonight Show as well as The Ed Sullivan Show before landing her own short-lived syndicated daytime talk show, That Show with Joan Rivers, in 1966 (Johnny Carson was her first guest).

•Throughout the 1970s, Rivers continued to add to her comedy credits, appearing on the likes of The Carol Burnett Show, in addition to expanding her resume, writing and directing the film The Rabbit Test, which starred her friend Billy Crystal

Joan Rivers

Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

•By 1983, she was named a permanent guest host of The Tonight Show and even fondly referred to herself as "Johnny Carson's daughter." The duo's chemistry was palpable and Rivers became a trailblazer for all women in both comedy and entertainment (that same year, she became the first female comedian to ever perform at Carnegie Hall).

•In 1984, Rivers was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album for What Becomes a Semi Legend Most? and she also published a best-selling humor book, The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abramowitz.

•The '80s proved to be a decade of ups and downs for Rivers, who, in 1986, began the rival program The Late Show which sparked a highly publicized rift with former mentor Johnny Carson. Joan was subsequently banned from The Tonight Show, a decision which was honored by both of Carson's successors, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien. She did not return to The Tonight Show again until February 17, 2014 when she made a brief appearance during Jimmy Fallon's first episode. 

•Following her firing from The Late Show in 1987, Rivers starred on the daytime talk show The Joan Rivers Show, which ran for five years after first airing in 1989 and won her a Daytime Emmy award in 1990 for Outstanding Talk Show Host. 

PHOTOS: Relive Joan's greatest uncut Hollywood jokes

Joan Rivers Screengrab


•In 1994, both Joan and daughter Melissa Rivers hosted the E! pre-show awards for the Golden Globes, which quickly became an absolute sensation. That same year, she also received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress for her role in Sally Marr...and her escorts. 

•One year later, the two co-hosted E!'s red carpet coverage of the Academy Awards and cemented their roles as fixtures on the awards season scene.

•Not only was Joan a comedic genius, but she was also a savvy fashion designer. She regularly appeared on QVC to promote her own jewelry line "The Joan Rivers Collection."

•In 2003, Rivers briefly left her E! family for a gig at TV guide to cover award shows and red carpets

•In 2009, Joan and Melissa competed together on Celebrity Apprentice. The comic legend was later announced as the winner of the show. 

•In 2010, Rivers made her triumphant return to E! and started hosting Fashion Police, with Melissa serving as an executive producer and occasional guest host.

PHOTOS: Joan Rivers' famous friends

Fashion Police, Joan Rivers, Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne, George Kotsiopoulos


•By 2011, Rivers and her daughter premiered their new show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? On WE tv, which chronicled the unstoppable mother-daughter duo as they worked on their careers and took care of their family.

•In 2012, Rivers released her New York Times bestselling book I Hate Everyone…Starting With Me, in which she even hilariously laid out her own funeral wishes

•And in March 2013, she launched a new YouTube show title In Bed With Joan, during which she chatted with a different celeb each week on a variety of hilarious topics.

Unstoppable until her last breath, indeed. We will miss you, Joan. Rest in peace. 

(Originally published Sept. 5, 2014, at 1:49 p.m. PT)

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