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AP PHOTOS: Joan Rivers worked until her last laugh

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/09/04/15/20/586-1dRbEG.Em.55.jpeg|206
    Nick Ut, File - AP Photo
    FILE - In this Aug. 15, 1989 file photo ,Joan Rivers announces that she is starting a new syndicated talk show, "The Joan Rivers Show," in Los Angeles. 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, Sept. 4, 2014. She was 81. Rivers was hospitalized Aug. 28, after going into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/09/04/18/20/697-16zKbb.Em.55.jpeg|474
    E!, Tyler Golden - AP Photo
    In this image released by E!, singer Boy George, left, sits on the lap of comedian and TV personality Joan Rivers on the set of "Fashion Police," in Los Angeles. 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, Sept. 4, 2014. She was 81. Rivers was hospitalized Aug. 28, after going into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/09/04/15/20/382-7VYCY.Em.55.jpeg|318
    Dan Grossi, File - AP Photo
    FILE - This April 12, 1965 file photo shows comedienne Joan Rivers in Los Angeles. 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, Sept. 4, 2014. She was 81. Rivers was hospitalized Aug. 28, after going into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/09/04/18/20/771-1niYdq.Em.55.jpeg|232
    Evan Agostini, File - AP Photo
    FILE - In this April 30, 2012 file photo, Kelly Osbourne, left, and Joan Rivers, center, co-hosts of the show "Fashion Police" and show producer Melissa Rivers pose at an E! Network upfront event in New York. 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, Sept. 4, 2014. She was 81. Rivers was hospitalized Aug. 28, after going into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/09/04/16/15/801-13vuEP.Em.55.jpeg|248
    Doug Sheridan, File - AP Photo
    FILE - In this July 26, 1989 file photo, comedian Joan Rivers poses next to her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame during her induction ceremony in Los Angeles. 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, Sept. 4, 2014. She was 81. Rivers was hospitalized Aug. 28, after going into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office.

Joan Rivers' comedy took no prisoners, targeting stars for their fashion choices and mocking her own love affair with plastic surgery.

Rivers' death at 81 on Thursday ended a life and a career spent making other people laugh. She rose to fame in an era in which the big time was dominated by male comics, but she found a niche for herself and eventually got her big break on "The Tonight Show" in 1965. She performed almost constantly, though she found her career derailed for a two-year-period in the 1980s after the suicide of her husband, Edgar Rosenberg. Recent years found her as a host of E! Network's "Fashion Police," and a familiar face on shopping channel QVC as she promoted her line of jewelry.

"You never relax and say, 'Well, here I am!'" she once declared. "You always think, 'Is this gonna be OK?' I have never taken anything for granted."

Here's a gallery of images from Joan Rivers' life.

Follow AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo
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