Joan Rivers Dead At 81

By BTL Staff

NEW YORK - AP reports that 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 was hospitalized last week after she went into cardiac arrest at a Manhattan doctor's office following a routine procedure. She was then put on life support. Daughter Melissa Rivers said she died surrounded by family and close friends.

Rivers, who opened her routine with the trademark - "Can we talk?" - never mellowed during a decades-long career. She moved from longtime targets such as Elizabeth Taylor, whom she famously ridiculed as fat, to new faces and continued to appear in clubs and on TV into her 80s.

Rivers had a complicated history with the LGBT community. The comedienne had spoken with BTL as recently as 2012 and appeared at dinners for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). At the same time, Rivers defended other celebrities for using anti-gay slurs, such as Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin, sometimes using the invectives herself. Even more recently, Rivers called President Obama "gay" while referring to first lady Michelle Obama as "a transgender."

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