Remembering Joan Rivers, a true entertainer

Joan Rivers believed she was successful because she always said what everyone else was thinking.

She never stopped until the end of her life, "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose reports.

She had a brash comedic style all her own. She rose to be the first lady of standup, credited with influencing generations of female comics.

The daughter of Russian immigrants, Joan Rivers was born in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Barnard college and went on to blaze a path for women in comedy.

After nearly a decade bouncing around the comedy cellars of New York, she made her debut on "The Tonight Show" in 1965 and immediately became a favorite of late night giant Johnny Carson.

In 1983, Rivers was named the first permanent guest host of "The Tonight Show," but her relationship with Carson was shattered years later when Rivers signed on with Fox to host a rival late-night show without telling Carson first.

Rivers' late night show was canceled after just eight months. Three months after that, her husband of 22 years, Edgar Rosenberg, who was a producer on the show, committed suicide. In a 2010 interview, she described to Rose her continued anger toward her husband.

"I loved my husband but I'm still so angry at him" Rivers said. "He just -- it's like Samson. He brought down the temple."

Rivers' career and income nosedived. But she rebounded with a new syndicated show, and won a daytime Emmy for outstanding talk show host in 1990.

"Two years ago I could not get a job in this business, I could not get a job," Rivers said at the time.

Then, the woman whose self criticism was a hallmark of her humor, reinvented herself for a new generation as a red carpet fashion guru.

The 81-year-old worked a grueling schedule to the end on several reality shows with her beloved daughter Melissa alongside her.

Joan Rivers was, to the end, an entertainer.

"I understand when people say - I don't mean to sound so egotistical - it's like a nun's calling," Rivers told CBS News on performing. "I never could ever think of doing anything else. When I could put two thoughts together as a child, that's where I was going. Didn't know I was going to get there, but that's where I was going."