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Joan Rivers Was Frequent Visitor To Chicago

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(CBS) – Trailblazing comedienne Joan Rivers, who died Thursday, had ties to Chicago spanning decades.

Rivers, 81, left a lasting impression here. Just this past spring, she spoke at a benefit for breast cancer research.

And the legendary standup comic was slated to perform at the Chicago Theater only about two months from now. Rivers had been slated to give a Nov. 14 performance; it would have been the first time she took that famous stage since 1986.

Back in May, she spoke at the Renée Israel Foundation’s benefit for breast cancer research. The event took place in a Deerfield synagogue. Organizers say Rivers helped to raise more than $100,000 for the cause.

Rivers also appeared on behalf of Michigan Avenue Magazine, which put her on the cover for its “Women of Influence” issue.

“She was not about ego, she spoke openly about all the plastic surgery she’d had,” editor-in-chief J.P. Anderson said. “She was who she was, and yes, she was a celebrity, but she was a really hard-working entertainer at heart.”

Her well-known comedic jabs and risqué jokes were tempered by a message of perseverance.

Her connection to the Windy City goes back much further. A youthful Rivers performed on the Second City’s main stage in 1961.

“There’s a ‘blackout’ that Joan Rivers wrote that we still tour from time to time, which is hysterical,” Robin Hammond of Second City said.

Rivers died after suffering a complication during throat surgery.

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