Joan Rivers Has Died at 81

Joan Rivers has died

Joan Rivers has passed away at the age of 81, as confirmed today by her daughter Melissa Rivers. The razor-tongued comedian and red carpet critic had recently been in the hospital after she stopped breathing during a surgical procedure at her doctor’s office. Read Melissa’s official statement and relive some of Rivers’ career highlights after the jump.

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I know that /Film isn’t a gossip site, and we rarely report on lawsuits (especially more personal cases like this). But anyone who has seen the new documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work will probably be interested in this late breaking update. If you haven’t yet seen this documentary, you should seek it out. And if you have the time, rent the documentary Comedian, as it makes a powerful double feature.

In the documentary, comedian Joan Rivers has a fall out with her long time manager William “Billy” Sammeth, and is forced to let him go after he stops returning her calls. Sammeth is now suing River for more than $2 million, claiming that she defamed him in the documentary and failed to pay him $200,000 in earned commissions. Billy claims that he worked for Rivers during the filming of the documentary before being fired solely to give the movie “a fictional controversy.”
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Movie Trailer: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
The documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival to acclaim.

JOAN RIVERS – A PIECE OF WORK takes the audience on a year long ride with Joan Rivers in her 76th year of life; it peels away the mask of an iconic comedian, laying bare both the struggle and thrill of living life as a groundbreaking female performer. Filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK, THE TRIALS OF DARRYL HUNT) expose the private dramas of this irreverent, legendary comedian as she fights to keep her career thriving in a business driven by youth and beauty.

IFC Films picked up the doc at the festival following the buzz from early screenings. A trailer is now online, and embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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