|Susan Lucci and Joan Rivers|
Rivers was undergoing surgery on her vocal cords at a clinic in New York City on Aug. 28 when she stopped breathing and had to be transported to Mount Sinai Hospital. Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers' 13-year-old grandson, Cooper, who live in Malibu, California, rushed to her bedside.
"My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," Melissa Rivers said in a statement. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."
The beloved comedian had soap opera past. John Gabriel, who played Seneca Beaulac on Ryan's Hope for more than a decade, was once the opening act for her nightclub routine. She hosted VCR game "Predicaments" in 1986; appeared on NBC daytime drama Another World as Grant Harrison's (Mark Pinter) public relations expert Meredith Dunston in 1997; introduced a segment (with Melissa) on mothers and daughters at the 10th Annual Soap Opera Digest Awards in 1994; featured an all-star panel of stars on a 1993 episode of her talk show; and guest-starred as herself in a 1999 episode of All My Children opposite Susan Lucci and Vincent Irizarry.
Watch clips of the latter three below:
10th Annual Soap Opera Digest Awards (February 4, 1994)
Colleen Zenk (As the World Turns), Michael Zaslow (Guiding Light), Leslie Charleson (General Hospital), Deidre Hall (Days of our Lives) and Peter Bergman (The Young and the Restless) on The Joan Rivers Show in 1993.
All My Children (September 28, 1999)
Hall and many other stars made multiple appearances on her daytime, primetime and late night shows over the years.
"I mock everybody, regardless of race, creed or color," she told the Toronto Star in July. "Every joke I make, no matter how tasteless, is there to draw attention to something I really care about."