Joan Rosenberg aka Joan Rivers is an American comedian, television personality and actress. She is known for her brash manner, her loud, raspy voice with a heavy New York accent, as well as her numerous cosmetic surgeries. Rivers's comic style relies heavily on poking fun at herself and other celebrities, mostly about their fashion sense. A documentary film about Rivers, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival at the Castro Theatre on May 6, 2010.
Rivers was born Joan Molinsky in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants Beatrice and Meyer C. Molinsky, a doctor. She was reared in Brooklyn, New York, and her family later moved to Larchmont, in Westchester County, NY. She attended Connecticut College between 1950 and 1952 and graduated from Barnard College in 1954 with a bachelor-of-arts degree in English literature and anthropology. Before entering show business, Rivers worked at various jobs such as a tour guide at Rockefeller Center, a writer/proofreader at an advertising agency and as a fashion consultant at Bond Clothing Stores. During this period, an agent named Tony Rivers told her to change her name, so she suggested Joan Rivers as her new name.
Her first marriage was in 1955 to James Sanger, the son of a Bond Clothing Stores merchandise manager. The marriage lasted six months and was annulled on the basis that Sanger did not want children and had not informed Rivers before the wedding. Her second marriage was on July 15, 1965 to Edgar Rosenberg, who committed suicide in 1987. Their only child, Melissa Warburg Rosenberg, was born on January 20, 1968.
In her book, Bouncing Back, she described how she developed bulimia and contemplated suicide. Eventually she recovered with counseling and the support of her family.