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Joan Rivers was rushed to New York’s Mount Sinai hospital on Thursday morning, a spokesperson for E!, which airs Rivers’ Fashion Police series, and a spokesperson for the hospital confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Rivers was hospitalized after she stopped breathing while undergoing surgery on her vocal cords at an Upper East Side clinic, NBC New York and TMZ reported. The New York Fire Department earlier received an emergency call that she was in cardiac arrest, a law enforcement source told ABC News. Rivers was initially reported to be in critical condition, but a source later told E! News that her condition had been upgraded to stable.
On Thursday night, Rivers’ daughter Melissa Rivers thanked fans for their support.
“I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming love and support for my mother. She is resting comfortably and is with our family. We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers,” she said in a statement.
In a separate statement released Friday, the younger Rivers added that her mother’s “condition remains serious but she is receiving the best treatment and care possible.”
In a statement, E! said, “E!, Fashion Police and NBCUniversal continue to send thoughts, prayers and love to Joan, Melissa and their entire family.”
Mount Sinai spokesman Sid Dinsay said in a separate statement, “This morning, Joan Rivers was taken to The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where she is being attended to. Her family wants to thank everybody for their outpouring of love and support. We will provide an update on her condition as it becomes available.”
In addition to Fashion Police, Rivers and her daughter Melissa also star in WE tv’s reality series Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best? Rivers is also still doing stand-up comedy. She has written 12 books, including the recently released Diary of a Mad Diva, and designed the jewelry, apparel and accessories line Joan Rivers Classics Collection, a QVC top seller for almost 25 years.
Rivers’ publicist and manager did not respond to requests for comment.
Writing for THR in 2012, Rivers explained how she got her start as a stand-up comedian and why she ended up fighting with Johnny Carson.
Rivers revealed that she wanted to be an actress but while she was working as an office temp she learned she could make more money doing stand-up. She claimed she had no idea what she was doing and didn’t really fit in with the other male stand-up comedians coming up at the time.
“I never was one of the guys. I was never asked to go hang out; I never thought about it until later,” she wrote. “I never got to go uptown and have a sandwich with them. So, even though I was with them, I wasn’t with them.”
Brought onto The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson when Bill Cosby was filling in and the scheduled comedian bombed, Rivers was later named the first permanent guest host of The Tonight Show, becoming the only woman to hold that position. She also hosted one of television’s first syndicated talkers, That Show With Joan Rivers and The Joan Rivers Show.
But it was her 1986 Fox program The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers that led to a falling out with Carson.
After she was offered her own late-night show, Carson wouldn’t speak to her.
“The first person I called was Johnny, and he hung up on me — and never, ever spoke to me again,” Rivers wrote for THR. “And then denied that I called him. I couldn’t figure it out. I would see him in a restaurant and go over and say hello. He wouldn’t talk to me.”
“I kept saying, ‘I don’t understand, why is he mad?’ He was not angry at anybody else,” she added. “I think he really felt because I was a woman that I just was his. That I wouldn’t leave him. I know this sounds very warped. But I don’t understand otherwise what was going on. For years, I thought that maybe he liked me better than the others. But I think it was a question of, ‘I found you, and you’re my property.’ He didn’t like that as a woman, I went up against him.”
She said she was still angry about being pitted against him in the press.
Rivers also shared some advice about aging and succeeding at comedy.
“Ignore aging: Comedy is the one place it doesn’t matter,” she wrote for THR. “It matters in singing because the voice goes. It matters certainly in acting because you’re no longer the sexpot. But in comedy, if you can tell a joke, they will gather around your deathbed. If you’re funny, you’re funny. Isn’t that wonderful?”
She added: If there is a secret to being a comedian, it’s just loving what you do. It is my drug of choice. I don’t need real drugs. I don’t need liquor. It’s the joy that I get performing. That is my rush. I get it nowhere else. What pleasure you feel when you’ve kept people happy for an hour and a half. They’ve forgotten their troubles. It’s great. There’s nothing like it in the world. When everybody’s laughing, it’s a party. And then you get a check at the end. That’s very nice.”
Aug. 28, 10:53 a.m. This story has been updated to reflect additional details about Rivers’ condition from E!
12:47 p.m. This story has been updated to add Mount Sinai’s statement and confirmation.
6:25 p.m. This story has been updated to add a statement from Melissa Rivers.
Aug. 29, 11:43 a.m. This story has been updated with a new statement from Melissa Rivers.
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