On September 4, 2014, Joan Rivers passed away from complications during a routine medical procedure in New York City. Her groundbreaking career spanned 50 years, which means that for half a century she brought pee-in-your-pants laughter to the world. Joan Rivers’ life was inspirational and paved the way for women everywhere and showed that it’s not only okay, but it’s hysterical to say what’s on your mind. We’ll never forget the first time we heard her make fun of her own vagina. Oy.

Whether you loved her style or hated it, she pushed buttons that often needed pushing. She was wise, honest, smart and funny and while her loved ones, colleagues and fans will all sorely miss her wit and wild ways, we are grateful for Joan Rivers’ life lessons and the legacy she left us. First up: How to exit gracefully…

“When I die (and yes, Melissa, that day will come; and yes, Melissa, everything’s in your name), I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action. I want Craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way. I don’t want some rabbi rambling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents. I don’t want a eulogy; I want Bobby Vinton to pick up my head and sing ‘Mr. Lonely.’ I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyoncé’s.”

1. You can take the girl out of Brooklyn, but not Brooklyn out of the girl.
Born Joan Alexandra Molinksy, she took the stage name Rivers but always paid homage to her Russian Jewish roots.

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