Welcome to Friday’s Featured Female!
This weekly series features inspirational stories from admirable women. IMHO, it’s always good to be reminded of how strength, determination, hard work, heart and ingenuity can impact the quality of one’s life and I’m proud that these women will allow me to share their stories here.
There’s no Guest Post today. I had a different post in mind for today but when I heard that Joan Rivers had died, I knew I had to write about her. Joan was more than just a gossipy comic. She was a catalyst of change for women in comedy for certain but also for all women. I really do believe that every woman today owes this groundbreaking legend a debt of gratitude.
Today’s Special Edition of Friday’s Featured Female is dedicated to Joan Rivers (1933-2014)
No one can deny that Joan Rivers had balls of brass. Without Joan Rivers I’m certain that my life may have been very different. I didn’t know Joan Rivers personally but I do know that she paved the way for the smart (mouthed), tenacious and driven women of today.
Whether you loved her or you hated her, you knew of her and you most certainly had an opinion about her. Joan Rivers was a groundbreaker in so many ways. Who would have ever expected that a brash, petite Jewish girl from Brooklyn would revolutionize the way women were perceived in entertainment?
Joan Rivers was a multilayered woman. She was not only intelligent (she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College in the 1950’s), tenacious (she reinvented herself more times than Cher has had Farewell concerts) and had a head for business (her QVC sales have been estimated at $1 billion – she also won Celebrity Apprentice one year) but she was also no stranger to tragedy (she was shunned by her mentor Johnny Carson and widowed after her husband committed suicide in 1987).
Despite the epic peaks and valleys of life and career of Joan Rivers, she might have been the hardest working woman in entertainment. I’ll never forget watching the 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and was shocked at just how much time and effort this woman put into her act (she had card catalogues of every joke she’d ever written) and just how often she worked in comedy and in her various businesses. In 2010, the life of Joan Rivers seemed very lonely despite being so busy.
Busy is what Joan Rivers wanted to be. It isn’t often that someone so successful in their career is also known for their devotion to their family. Anyone who knows of Joan Rivers can’t help but think of her daughter, Melissa (good name choice there, Joan) and her grandson.
There’s no doubt that without Joan Rivers, women like Rosie O’Donnell, Roseanne Barr, Ellen DeGeneres, Whoopi Goldberg, or Sarah Silverman would never be famous today. But the impact of Joan Rivers goes far beyond famous women of comedy, her life and career is an example of what hard work and never giving up might bring. Joan Rivers lived her life with a big middle finger to the world and crawled back every time she was kicked in the teeth. She was the Mistress of Reinvention and saw opportunity where others did not. Joan set conventional wisdom on its ass, spoke her mind, created her own definition of beauty and lived her life her way.
I’m sad for the loss of Joan Rivers. The Red Carpet will never be the same without her but I hope I’m not the only one to recognize how much more than laughter Joan Rivers has really given to all women everywhere.
Given my #optimistflip mantra for 2014, I couldn’t help but be struck by one of Joan’s amazing quotes. I’m going to adopt it.
Disclosure: The Joan Rivers documentary link is an affiliate link to the Amazon streaming video for $2.99. I will make a few pennies if you rent the video. If you like Joan Rivers at all, it’s worth the money and the time to get a glimpse into what made this extraordinary woman tick.
Did you love Joan or did you hate her?