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The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1965)
Joan Rivers had already made her Tonight Show debut back when Jack Paar was hosting, but she didn't get her real breakthrough until Johnny Carson invited her on the show and proclaimed that she was destined to be ''a star.'' ''The next day, my life changed,'' Rivers once said. She'd soon become a regular on The Tonight Show, later serving as Carson's permanent replacement.
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That Show with Joan Rivers (1968)
One of the first syndicated talk shows on daytime television, That Show lasted only one season, but along with her appearances on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, it helped make Rivers a household name. Carson was her first guest.
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The Swimmer (1969)
Rivers' big-screen debut was brief. She appeared as ''Joan'' in this Burt Lancaster movie about a man who plans to ''swim across the county'' using his neighbors' pools. On the plus side, the scene required Lancaster to flirt with her.
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Hollywood Squares (1970)
Rivers appeared semi-regularly on the celebrity game show until 2004, often taking the center square, where she reigned as queen of the one-liner.
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What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most? (1983)
Capturing some of Rivers' best zingers, which were aimed at the National Enquirer, the British royal family, and (naturally) gynecology, this best-selling comedy album earned her a Grammy nod.
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The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers (1986)
Fox lured Rivers away from The Tonight Show by offering her own late-night talk show, which competed directly with Carson's. But the whole project was plagued with bad luck. Carson was so angry, he never spoke to Rivers again. After only eight months, Fox fired Rivers and her husband, TV producer Edgar Rosenberg. Three months later, Rosenberg committed suicide, plunging Rivers into a deep depression.
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Rivers served up her signature rasp as the voice of Dot Matrix in Mel Brooks' space spoof. In the sassed-up riff on Star Wars' C-3PO, Rivers' brassy comedic sensibilities came in handy when discussing (and protecting) the virginity of her charge, Princess Vespa.
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The Joan Rivers Show (1989)
This showcase for Rivers' quirky interviews won her a daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 1990. During the four years it aired, she interviewed the usual celebrities and other, more unusual guests, including a transsexual who believed she was pregnant.
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Sally Marr and Her Escorts (1994)
Rivers wrote and starred in this Broadway play about a small-time comic whose chief claim to fame is that she's Lenny Bruce's mother. Though short-lived, it earned her a Tony nomination.
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Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story (1994)
Rivers and her daughter, Melissa, played themselves in this bizarre NBC movie about the aftermath of Rosenberg's suicide. The opening sequence contrasts scenes of Rivers getting liposuction with shots of her husband overdosing on pills. Perhaps EW's TV critic Ken Tucker described it best when the show first premiered: ''Were [it] not so ghoulishly creepy, it would be an instant camp classic.''
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Roasting the Red Carpet for E!
Joan and Melissa hosted their first pre-show for the Golden Globes in 1994. The E! network's mother-daughter ''fashion police'' correspondents for celebrity-packed events like the Oscars and Emmys would rule the red carpet until 2004, putting celebrities (and their stylists) on edge with their painfully spot-on ''critiques.''
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Celebrity Apprentice (2009)
When her daughter Melissa was fired, Joan threatened to leave the show, erupting in a now-famous war of words with poker player Annie Duke, whom Rivers believed was responsible for Melissa getting the ax. (''You're a pok-ah play-ah!'' Rivers raged. ''That's beyond white trash!'') But after Duke herself was fired, Joan went on to win $250,000 for her charity God's Love We Deliver.
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Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)
This critically acclaimed documentary followed Rivers as she tried to stage a comeback. Brutally honest, it featured the comedian talking about her fallout with Carson, her husband's suicide, and her feelings about the new generation of edgy female comics (suffice to say there are F-bombs dropped on behalf of Kathy Griffin).
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After Louis C.K.'s character offends a Vegas bigwig with a foul-mouthed rant against Donald Trump, Rivers delivers some surprisingly moving (and mostly ad-libbed) advice about comedy: ''You do it because we love it more than anything else?. What we do is not a job. It sounds so stupid. What we do is a calling, my dear.'' If that's too earnest for you, not to worry: The episode ends with then-78-year-old Joan luring Louie into bed for mindless sex.
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Fashion Police (2010)
Far from retiring, Rivers spent time between several reality shows (Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?, How'd You Get So Rich?, ) heading up a panel of fashionistas (Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne, and George Kostiopoulos) for a weekly dose of red carpet dish. Sartorial missteps were topic No. 1, though the star reserved some of her best zingers for the celebs wearing those couture duds: ''I adore the Kardashians. They're a lot like Colonel Sanders. They also built an empire on breasts, legs, and thighs.''