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New Joan Rivers Bio ‘Last Girl Before Freeway’



A new Joan Rivers biography called “Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers” is due out this month. It will be available for sale on November 15.

Vanity Fair got a sneak peek at the new Joan Rivers book from the author Leslie Bennetts herself in its latest issue.

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The segment from “Last Girl Before Freeway” offered in the magazine deals with the lowest point in happy lady Joan Rivers’ life. It came in the Spring of 1987 after her late night talk show on Fox crashed and burned. Rivers took a huge risk with the show.

Millennials just wouldn’t understand, but anyone over 40 will remember how Johnny Carson ruled late night in the 1980s and that he helped make Joan Rivers a star. She was even his personal guest host at one point that decade, before anyone had ever heard of Jay Leno.

But Rivers could not resist the opportunity for her own show which was offered her by the then new fourth network Fox. And she made the mistake of not even telling Johnny Carson about it until after the deal was done. Carson never forgave his former protege and banned her from his “Tonight Show” and Jay Leno preserved this ban for more than 20 years.




Joan Rivers would not make another appearance on the program until she showed up for a surprise bit on Jimmy Fallon’s first show in February 2014.

And after the failure Joan Rivers’ husband Edgar, who had been the object of much of her comedy routine in a very negative way for the previous 20 years, committed suicide. Edgar had been her manager and felt responsible for her very public humiliation. He could take the good natured ribbing in his wife’s comedy, but not the public disgrace and failure.

And Melissa Rivers, Joan Rivers’ daughter, blamed her mother for her father’s death for a long time.

As Bennetts describes it, “Reeling with grief and rage, Rivers then discovered she was broke. She had earned millions of dollars and lived a life of baroque luxury, but her husband had squandered her wealth on bad investments. She was $37 million in debt, and her opportunities for making more money had vanished.”

Joan and her daughter would eventually make up and work together on the television show “Fashion Police” and judge the dresses of celebrities on the red carpet before the start of awards shows. Mellisa Rivers even maintains her mother’s Twitter page more than two years after her death.

But Joan Rivers would come back. She had several successful daytime talk shows in the 1990s, a number of hit books and became one of America’s favorite stars. Where Johnny Carson was all but forgotten within a decade of his retirement in 1992, Joan Rivers continued to be in the limelight right up until her untimely death in 2014.

Yes Rivers was already 81, and yet her death still came as a shock because she was just so full of life.

Amazon offers the following celebrity reviews of “Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers:”

“You may think you know Joan Rivers, but I’ll bet you’ll be shocked by the revelations in Leslie Bennetts’s irresistible biography. Before there was a women’s movement or much hope for a woman in stand-up comedy, Joan made it by ridiculing everything she craved, from beauty and respectability to fashion and power. With unmatched energy and an ambition that made Napoleon look like Gandhi, she broke the boundaries of taste and commonsense-and widened the path for us all.”―Gloria Steinem

“Joan was a great friend of mine and this is one hell of a book. A terrific read from start to finish, it captures Joan completely. Five stars.”―Larry King, television and radio host.

Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers, Little, Brown and Company, 432 pages, Available in hardcover and e book.



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