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AP PHOTOS: Joan Rivers worked until her last laugh

Thursday - 9/4/2014, 8:38pm  ET

FILE - In this July 26, 2009 file photo, comedians Kathy Griffin, right, and roastee Joan Rivers arrive at the "Comedy Central Roast of 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. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg, File)

The Associated Press

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.

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