Joan Rivers resting comfortably after comic stopped breathing during throat surgery
Joan Rivers was resting comfortably Thursday night after being rushed to Manhattan’s Mt. Sinai Hospital, reportedly after suffering cardiac or resperatory arrest during an outpatient surgery at a nearby doctor’s office.
“I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming love and support for my mother,” daughter Melissa Rivers said in statement. “She is resting comfortably and is with our family. We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.”
Melissa had flown from Los Angeles to New York to be by her mother’s side, said a spokesperson for E!, which airs Fashion Police.
Emergency medical services personnel brought the veteran stand-up comic and Fashion Police star to the hospital from “a doctor’s office on 93rd Street,” a building that houses an endoscopy clinic, NYPD Det. Kellyann Ort told the Los Angeles Times.
The 81-year-old had reportedly been undergoing throat surgery, possibly on her vocal cords, when a 911 call was placed describing a person who was either in cardiac or respiratory arrest, said TMZ, which first had the news.
According to E! News, the comic had stopped breathing during surgery and was in critical condition when authorities arrived.
Later, at the hospital, Rivers’ assistant, Graham Reed, was overheard saying, “She’s not conscious, but she’s stable,” the New York Daily News reported. An “obviously distraught” Reed would not answer questions, the paper said.
Joan Rivers had showed up “bright and early” on Tuesday morning to tape a 90-minute special edition of Fashion Police with Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic and George Kotsiopoulos, wrapping up coverage of the Emmy Awards and MTV Video Music Awards, an E! spokesperson said.
The entertainer has logged a half-century in show business and gave rise to red carpet commentary — and the snarky criticism that often accompanies it. Her signature red carpet query: “Who are you wearing?”
She continues to maintain a busy schedule, and was to perform a show Friday at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. That show was postponed because of her hospitalization.
Rivers spoke at an employee event at Time Inc. in New York on Wednesday night and appeared healthy, practically jogging when she walked in to take her seat, said Shira Blum, an online project manager.
“She seemed totally healthy,” Blum said. “She was very energetic, hilarious, funny. And it was such a shock, a surprise to hear the news this morning.”
Rivers took questions and said she wakes up every morning and “is thankful that everything works,” Blum said.
Aside from hosting of Fashion Police, Rivers also presides over an online talk show, In Bed With Joan and co-stars with daughter, Melissa, on the WEtv reality show, Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?
Her latest book, Diary of a Mad Diva, was released this summer.
A native of New York, Rivers originally entered show business with the dream of a theatrical career, but comedy became a way to pay the bills while she auditioned for acting roles.
“Somebody said, 'You can make six dollars standing up in a club,’” she told the Associated Press in 2013, “and I said, 'Here I go!’ It was better than typing all day.”
After proving herself in comedy clubs as a rarity — a woman comedian — Rivers was a smash on her first booking on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1965.
“God, you’re funny,” Carson told her.
— Los Angeles Times, Associated Press