How a first generation Jewish American became an entertainment legend.
In that same year, Rivers wrote and produced a Broadway play, Sally Marr and Her Escorts. Based on the life of Lenny Bruce’s mother, it too deals with the cruel price that celebrity and talent exact from those blessed and cursed with its gifts.
Since 1995, Joan Rivers has been a host for the E! Entertainment television network, where she and her daughter broadcast their “Joan and Melissa’s E! Fashion Reviews” from the scene of the annual Golden Globe, Emmy and Academy Award ceremonies. Rivers herself won the 1990 Emmy award for best daytime talk show host.
Joan Rivers has been supportive of Jewish philanthropic and social causes and is a former Hadassah Woman of the Year. In her books, she makes reference to Jewish holidays and rituals, as well as very trenchant and witty remarks about American Jewish social phenomena—including the Catskill Mountains Borscht Belt, where she performed early in her career.
In Enter Talking, there is a particularly moving account of her first Yom Kippur away from the warmth--and fury--of her family. Her portrayal of her own family’s Jewish life provides us with confirmation of Jenna Weissman Joselit’s observation in The Wonders of America (1994) that, for American Jews, “the Jewish home was now placed at the core of Jewish identity, often becoming indistinguishable from Jewishness itself.”
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