Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler, Ricky Gervais & More Remember Iconic Comedienne Joan Rivers
BroadwayWorld was saddened to report the death of legendary comedienne Joan Rivers, who had undergone a procedure on her vocal cords last Thursday, when she stopped breathing. Rivers was taken to Mount Sinai hospital in New York City, and later put into a medically induced coma and put on life support. She was 81.
For a look back at Rivers' multi-faceted career, click here.
Friends, colleagues, and members of the theatre industry have started turning to Twitter to express their sorrow at the news. BWW will continue to update the reactions as they are posted.
Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, said in a statement: "She passed peacefully at 1:17 PM surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother. Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated. My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."
E! and NBCUniversal also released a joint statement: "E! and NBCUniversal send our deepest condolences to Melissa, Cooper and her entire extended family on this incredibly sad day. For decades Joan has made people laugh, shattered glass ceilings and revolutionized comedy. She was unapologetic and fiercely dedicated to entertaining all of us and has left an indelible mark on the people that worked with her and on her legions of fans. She's been a much beloved member of the E! family for over 20 years and the world is less funny without her in it. Today our hearts are heavy knowing Joan will not be bounding through the doors."
David Letterman: ""Here's a woman, a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy. And talk about guts - she would come out here and sit in this chair and say some things that were unbelievable, just where you would have to swallow pretty hard ...but it was hilarious... the force of her comedy was overpowering."
Whoopi Goldberg: "My friend Joan Rivers has passed away once again to quote Billy Crystal... There are no words. Bon Voyage Joan"
Ricky Gervais: "RIP the mighty Joan Rivers. Funny & fearless. Truly one of a kind."
Kristin Chenoweth: "RIP Joan Rivers. You made us laugh and happy."
Liza Minnelli: "Joan was my dear friend and I will miss her but I will always remember the laughter and friendship she brought into my life."
Lin-Manuel Miranda: "RIP Joan Rivers. One of a kind, trailblazer."
Bethenny Frankel: "In shock hearing that joan rivers died. She felt like someone who was ageless and would live forever. I still don't really believe it."
Sharon Osbourne: "We've lost a true legend today and an amazing woman - a pioneer. She opened up the arena for women in comedy....My heart goes out to Melissa and Edgar. Love and respect from the Osbourne family to you both."
Bob Saget: "So funny and irrepressible. Rest in peace, Joan Rivers."
Bette Midler: "Joan Rivers has died. What a sad ending to a brilliant and tragi-comic life; one of the bravest, and funniest of all."
Samuel L. Jackson: Love Her or Hate Her, we're gonna Miss JOAN RIVERS! I always Respected her go for broke humor. One of a kind.R.I.P."
Remy Zaken: "Joan Rivers :("
Kelly Rippa: "NOOOOOOOO.......... RIP Joan. You will be forever missed."
Michael Mayer: "RIP Joan Rivers. Smart, funny and really really kind. They broke the mold."
Candace Cameron Bure: "Saddened that Joan Rivers has passed. What a legacy she leaves. Praying for Melissa, Cooper & their family"
Laura Benanti: "RIP you brilliant trail blazer."
Steve Kazee: "Damn...between Robin Williams and now Joan Rivers this world is a lot less funny right now when we need laughter most. #RIP #LEGEND...Everyone should watch Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work. Amazing history of a legend of comedy. So much more than her days at E!"
Billy Porter: "Go rest now you delightful human being. We have lost a genuine treasure. Thank you Joan Rivers for keeping it..."
Helene Yorke: "Joan, thank you for all you did for us gals. You were one of a kind and an inspiration."
Scott Alan: "RIP Joan Rivers. Your gift was not only proving that women can be funny but that life was meant to be laughed at and not taken so seriously"
Max von Essen: "When I needed to laugh the most, she was there. Always. My entire life. Thank you Joan Rivers."
Jackie Hoffman: "Kill me. A world without Joan Rivers. Just kill me now"
Diana DeGarmo: "I feel so lucky to be able to say that I met & worked with one of the most legendary, professional, funny, electric women in entertainment...Rest in Peace Ms. Rivers. You were one of a kind."
Fran Drescher: "I'm so sad 2 hear tht Joan Rivers passed away 2day :( A pioneer in women's comedy & a survivor w a capital S! Thank U Joan 4all th laughs <3"
Roseanne Barr: "RIP GODDESS: Hail Hail, a GENIUS has vacated this realm: Joan Rivers has died."
Sarah Jessica Parker: "And in addition to being a trailblazer the great Joan always smelled good.Thanks for taking my challenge. I still owe you one. RIP x,sj"
Lena Dunham: "Watching Joan Rivers do standup at age 81 was incredible: athletic, jaw-dropping, terrifying, essential. It never stopped. Neither will she."
David Lindsay Abaire: ""I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking." - Joan Rivers"
Corey Mach: "met the queen a few years ago. she was full of quick wit, humility, and hilarious fag jokes. RIP"
Kevin Hart: "I just heard the unfortunate news about "Joan Rivers" ....I'm beyond sad about it. My prayers go out to her family and friends...She was a comedic genius and she will be missed. I'm honored to be able to call her my friend #RipJoanRivers"
Ellen DeGeneres: "Joan Rivers will always be a pioneer. She paved the way for a lot of comedians. I'm very sad she's gone."
Cyndi Lauper: "I am so sorry at the passing of Joan Rivers. She was a friend. She inspired me. She made me laugh since I was a kid, and I loved her so much"
Kristen Johnston: "I enjoy life when things are happening. It doesn't matter if it's good things or bad things. That means you're alive." - Joan Rivers"
Tom Bergeron: "Remembering Joan Rivers. A trailblazing force of nature. "Can we talk?" She sure could."
Martha Stewart: "I'll miss my good friend & fellow Barnard grad Joan Rivers-Greatly admired her comedic genius. Pls remember her w/ me"
Dule Hill: "RIP Joan Rivers. Thank You."
Anna Kendrick: "RIP Joan Rivers. Being publicly told that my dress is hideous will never feel quite as awesome. You will be truly missed."
Photo by Walter McBride