10 Fascinating And Inspiring Facts You Didn't Know About The Great Joan Rivers

by John Haltiwanger

Whether you loved or hated her, it's hard to deny that Joan Rivers had an incredibly dynamic and unique personality and life. She was an Emmy Award-winning comedienne and an incredibly inspirational figure for millions of people.

She was known for voicing extremely strong opinions on a wide number of issues. From critiquing celebrity fashion on the red carpet to the Israel-Palestine conflict, Rivers was certainly not afraid to express how she felt.

She was also an incredibly self-aware individual, and did not shy away from making fun of herself. In a recent book, she even made fun of her numerous facelifts and financial troubles. Her personality was a testament to the fact that life should never be taken too seriously.

Rivers was a fierce individualist, and a pioneer for female comics. We could all learn from her enthusiasm for life and her willingness to stand up for what she believed in. She will be greatly missed.

She Was Ugly As A Child

Rivers may have come off as superficial to many onlookers, but that doesn't mean she wasn't also critical of herself.

In a recently published book, Rivers kept it real when she stated:

I was not an attractive child. When I didn't use my Girl Scouts uniform as a uniform, I used it as a tent. I watch the television show "Glee." That wasn't my high school. In my high school, the fat girl was not popular. In my high school, the homosexual was running. But not running and dancing — he was running for his life. I just find that most of us went through very rough times growing up.

Rivers Was Once A Tour Guide At Rockefeller Center

Rivers always had a knack for entertainment, but she worried that it wasn't a very practical career choice. Before becoming a household name, she worked as a buyer for a chain store.

Eventually, she moved on to a job as a tour guide at the Rockefeller Center and a proof-reader for an advertising agency.

She was determined to succeed, however, and eventually spent close to a decade performing in New York City comedy clubs before she became famous. Don't ever give up on your dreams; Rivers certainly didn't.

Her Real Name Was Joan Alexandra Molinsky

Joan Rivers was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1933. Her parents were Russian Jewish immigrants, and her father was a doctor who apparently had a great sense of humor.

When she was a child, she would put on comedy shows for her father's work colleagues.

She Once Played A Lesbian Onstage Opposite Barbara Streisand

Rivers was determined to make it big, and performed in a number of small plays throughout New York City early in her career.

At one point, she played a lesbian opposite Barbara Streisand, who also was relatively unknown at the time.

Her Big Break Came On "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson"

In 1965, Rivers appeared on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson." She was an instant hit, and immediately became a household name.

Rivers is proof that hard work pays off, and that when an opportunity lands in your lap, you have to own it.

She Was Granted An Audience With Royalty On More Than One Occasion

In 2005, Rivers attended the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. Then, in 2007, she performed in front of Queen Elizabeth II at the Liverpool Empire Theater.

Rivers Had A Bachelor's Degree In English Lit And Anthropology

Rivers graduated from Barnard College in New York City in 1954 with a BA in English Literature and Anthropology. No wonder she liked to talk about other people so much -- she studied them.

She Was The National Spokesperson For The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Say what you want about Rivers, but deep down she was a very caring person. She spent a great deal of time fundraising for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Rivers Battled With Depression After Her Husband Committed Suicide

After 22 years of marriage, Rivers' husband, Edgar Rosenberg, suddenly killed himself in 1987. Later, Rivers admitted that she had to seek professional help to deal with the pain of that event.

Ultimately, this decision allowed her to move forward with her life. Sometimes asking for help can be the greatest decision you ever make.

Like Everyone Else, She Made Fun Of Herself For Her Plastic Surgeries

Rivers once joked:

I wish I had a twin so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.

RIP Joan Rivers. Thank you for the laughter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images