Iconic, no-holds-barred comedian Joan Rivers died at 10:17 a.m. on Sept. 4 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and fans and celebrities across the country mourned her passing.
On Hollywood Boulevard, people left flowers and cards, and tourists took pictures of her Walk of Fame star at 7000 Hollywood Blvd., in front of the Roosevelt Hotel. Officials with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce placed a wreath on her star on behalf of the Hollywood Historic Trust.
The chamber’s president and CEO, Leron Gubler, spoke briefly before signing a card on the wreath. He relayed a story that the late honorary mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant, told him many times. Gubler said it reflected her quick-wit and brash personality.
When Rivers received her star on July 26, 1989, she had a new line of jewelry coming out. Grant mentioned that fact, stating that the jewelry line would help her create a “new dynasty.” This was around the same time that the TV show, “Dynasty”, was ending.
He then inadvertently introduced Rivers as Joan Collins. Realizing his mistake, Grant started apologizing, but Rivers ran to the microphone.
“Don’t worry, Johnny. I’ve been called a bitch before,” she said.
The chamber was not the only local organization to mourn Rivers’ passing last Thursday. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) also extended its condolences.
“We are deeply saddened on the news of the passing of Joan Rivers,” AHF president Michael Weinstein said. “Her heart was as big as her mouth was tart. When her hairdresser became ill with AIDS and spent his last days at AHF’s Chris Brownlie Hospice in Los Angeles in 1989, Joan become an ardent supporter of AHF and an early advocate on AIDS issues at a time when few public figures were willing to speak out. There was Elizabeth Taylor. There was Princess Diana. Madonna, who is still a strident voice on AIDS. And there was Joan Rivers. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to her daughter, Melissa, and her entire family during this difficult time.”
Rivers’ daughter issued a statement last week, thanking the hospital staff and those who reached out to the family.
“[Rivers’ grandson] Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support and prayers we have received from around the world,” she said. “They have been heard and appreciated. My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.”
According to her website, Rivers was an Emmy Award-winning talk show host, Tony Award-nominated actress, best-selling author, playwright, screenwriter, director, columnist, lecturer, radio host, jewelry designer, entrepreneur and fashion critic.
She was the first woman to “break the glass ceiling of late night television” after being chosen to be the only permanent guest host on “The Tonight Show”. Rivers would go on to host “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers” on Fox.
She created “Live from the Red Carpet” For E! in 1996, and she hosted the show until 2004. Rivers later returned to the network for “Fashion Police”.
In May 2013, the writers at “Fashion Police” protested outside the E! offices on the Miracle Mile over wages and their desire to have a union contract.
“Being a part of a nothing’s-sacred, just-for-fun guilty pleasure like ‘Fashion Police’ and specifically writing for a comic legend … has been in many ways a great experience,” writer Jackie Beat said while protesting off Wilshire Boulevard. “But when the show becomes a huge hit, here and in countless foreign countries, the very people who have worked so hard to make the show what it is deserve more.”
Rivers also appeared in a reality TV show — “Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” — with her daughter for four seasons. In one episode, she tried making matzo balls in the Canter’s Deli food truck, and they turned out blue for some reason. She later tweeted, “I adore Canter’s! They have the best deli in LA… or as we call it, ‘Jewish comfort food.’”
Rivers was laid to rest on Sunday in Manhattan.
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