WATCH: 11 Moments That Made Gay Fans Love Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers never shied away from controversy for the sake of comedy. And that's why we've come to love her.

BY Daniel Reynolds

September 04 2014 2:44 PM ET

Through six decades, Joan Rivers made her mark on the entertainment industry, from her beginnings as a working comic to guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson to winning the Fox reality competition Celebrity Apprentice to her documentary Piece of Work. Check out some of the highlights from the late comedian's career below.

On April 23, 1967, Rivers appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for a comedic set that lambasted the sexual double standard.

Before pursuing a talk show of her own, Rivers was a regular guest host on The Tonight Show. Here she interviews comic legend Lucille Ball, promoting her 1985 film Stone Pillow.

Rivers wrote more than a dozen books on comedy and life. In 1986 she appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson to discuss her book Enter Talking and reflect on her early days in the entertainment industry.

In 1989 Rivers became the host of The Joan Rivers Show, for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award (and which famously got her shut out from Carson's Tonight Show). The above clip shows her interview with now-infamous members of the Club Kids movement in New York — Amanda Lepore, James St. James, and promoter-turned-murderer Michael Alig.

In 2009 Rivers participated in and won Fox's reality competition Celebrity Apprentice, which led to a renewed public interest in her career. In a memorable moment from the season, Rivers lashes out at Playboy model Brande Roderick and poker player Annie Duke after they conspired to eliminate her daughter, Melissa.

Following her win on Celebrity Apprentice, Rivers was featured in the hot seat of Comedy Central Roast, where she was lovingly lampooned by comedians like Gilbert Gottfried, Carl Reiner, Tom Arnold, and even her daughter, Melissa. Rivers memorably slapped Roastmaster Kathy Griffin, whose opening act is featured above.

Rivers was one of the featured comedians on the BBC's stand-up series Live at the Apollo, which was filmed at London's Hammersmith Apollo Theatre. Check out the opening minutes of the performance.

Hecklers happen to every comedian. In this clip from Rivers's 2010 documentary A Piece of Work, she talks back to a heckler during one of her stand-up routines in Wisconsin, and her on-the-fly response is a brilliant defense of addressing controversy through comedy.

In 2013 Rivers launched In Bed With Joan, a Web series of weekly interviews with celebrities. In the above video, Rivers gets cozy with famed drag performer RuPaul Charles.

After a decades-long ban, Rivers was invited back to The Tonight Show in 2014 by current host Jimmy Fallon. Naturally, Rivers marks the occasion with a raucous joke.

Rivers continued to make headlines in the last year of her life. The comedian stormed out of a CNN interview after the anchor questioned whether there should be boundaries on her jokes, particularly when it affects public figures. "Life is very tough," Rivers said in response. "And if you can tell a joke to make something easier and funny, do it."

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