5 of Joan Rivers' greatest appearances on television

(Alan Greth/AP, Las Vegas News Bureau/AP)
Perhaps only known as a fashion critic to young audiences, the brutally honest -- or honestly brutal -- Brooklyn-born comedian had audiences laughing for more than 50 years. Some of Joan Rivers' greatest achievements include being the first female comedian to ever perform at Carnegie Hall, the first female star of a late night comedy show -- The Late Show in 1987 --, and never even considering retirement. She won an Emmy, was nominated for a Tony, renown worldwide as a bestselling author and as a hilarious little lady.

Rivers passed away today, a week after going into cardiac arrest during a medical procedure. She leaves behind a legacy for women in comedy to aspire to, and a humility that warmed the hearts of comedy giants Johnny Carson and Lucille Ball. Check out some of her most memorable, and historic, television appearances below.

WARNING: ADULT THEMES.


Joan Rivers' guest spot on The Sammy Davis Jr. Show, 1966.

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After performing on Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, Joan made an appearance again with Carson outside of his element on The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. Carson was guest-hosting Sammy Davis at the time, and soon after continued to invite Joan onto his own program, The Tonight Show. Years later, Carson installed Joan as the permanent guest host of The Tonight Show. Her chemistry and friendship with Carson, and his audience, would go on to make Joan a household name and a constant treat for The Tonight Show fans.

Joan Rivers' standup comedy on The Ed Sullivan Show, 1967.

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As her star was beginning to rise with her appearances on The Tonight Show, Joan performed a bit of standup on The Ed Sullivan Show. A year later, she would go on to nab her first talk show, That Show with Joan Rivers. At the youthful age of 34, Joan looks stunning as she jokes about dating in the mod scene culture.

Joan River's jokes that her daughter's First Words Were "Shut up," 1972.

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In one of her numerous appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Joan talks about how her methods of raising her daughter have made her too smart for her age.

Interviewing Lucille Ball, while guest hosting The Tonight Show, 1984.

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While interviewing one of her idols, Joan stammers when floored by Lucille's deadpan wit. The women share an obvious mutual admiration for each other, but so engrained into their respective comedic personas that make this interview seem more like a scene from a television sitcom.

Joan can't stop laughing trying to tell this joke to Carson, 1984.

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As Joan aged alongside the television culture that was growing less wholesome than it was 20 years before, she was one of the first to take full advantage of this. Growing more outspoken and downright raunchy, she rediscovered her comedic voice that she is now known for in her sharply spot-on criticisms.

PHOTOS: Joan Rivers through the years


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