In 1933, Joan Rivers was born to parents of modest means: Russian Jews. The Guardian states that she was raised in Westchester County and went on to study English literature and anthropology at Barnard College.
After finishing college, Rivers got a job as a buyer at a department shop, where she eventually met her first spouse. Unfortunately, the marriage was annulled only six months in.
According to PBS, before making her way to the top of the male-dominated stand-up business, Joan Rivers “started off as a serious actress on Broadway.”
Her big break came on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” in 1965, but she had a falling out with the iconic host and went on to land her own show, “That Show with Joan Rivers,” in 1968. After her success with “Fashion Police,” Rivers went on to write 14 books, star in reality TV series, launch jewellery lines and produce a documentary.
Rivers was famous for her biting comebacks, self-deprecation, and jokes about having plastic surgery. Melissa was her daughter, and she and her second husband, Edgar Rosenberg, were happy together until he took his own life in 1987.
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Joan Rivers was very candid, making jokes about anything from her personal life to Rosenberg’s death.
Her untimely death in 2014 from “therapeutic complications” (via CNN) during a routine treatment revealed, however, that the legendary performer had more to hide. The following are some of the more outlandish revelations made about Joan Rivers after her passing.
- 1 With Joan Rivers, Matt Lauer faced a difficult adversary.
- 2 Among all the Glamorous Hosts, Joan Rivers was the Most Extravagant.
- 3 A Feminist Joan Rivers there was not.
- 4 Your Assumptions About the Number of Plastic Procedures Joan Rivers Underwent may or may not be Correct.
- 5 What Joan Rivers did with Empty Milk Dud Boxes is Totally Bizarre.
- 6 Mothering was an Area where Joan Rivers could have Improved.
- 7 Needles and Crosswords were Just two of the many Things Joan Rivers Performed in her own Inimitable Style.
- 8 Joan Rivers “Liked to Lie” and Make Stuff up.
- 9 She and her Daughter Melissa had “Big Conflicts,” According to Joan.
- 10 What Really Drove Joan Rivers’ Strange Fixation with Making Fun of Elizabeth Taylor
- 11 Ashes of Joan Rivers are Dispersed Among “Friends all across the World.”
With Joan Rivers, Matt Lauer faced a difficult adversary.
Melissa Rivers wrote a moving memoir after the passing of her mother, saying in a statement that she “wanted to write a book that would make [her] mother laugh.” Melissa Rivers writes about the grief and rage she felt after her mother’s death in “The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation,” as well as the negligence lawsuit she brought against Yorkville Endoscopy when Rivers experienced problems during a routine tracheotomy.
The hospital would later declare her dead. In 2016, the lawsuit was resolved. Melissa, however, also includes many humorous, touching, and outrageous incidents, such as the time Joan Rivers and Matt Lauer fought over an Elmo doll.
Melissa claims that she saw Joan on a “Today” segment with Lauer discussing “the hottest, impossible to acquire kids’ gifts of the year.” In that year, it was the “Tickle me Elmo” doll, which reportedly vanished from shelves in the “New York metropolitan area” after selling out almost instantly.
Only the one in the studio was available, and Joan was desperate to get it for her grandson Cooper, who looks just like Melissa. Unfortunately, Lauer was also interested in winning.
Melissa recounts how she and her mother “dropped to the ground, wrestling each other to get to the doll,” and how Joan pretended to hurt her hip to get Lauer to aid her, at which point she “grabbed the toy and ran” with “ninja-like reflexes.”
Among all the Glamorous Hosts, Joan Rivers was the Most Extravagant.
“People say that money is not the key to happiness,” Joan Rivers famously said about her penchant for the finer things in life, “but I always felt if you have enough money, you can have a key created.” Rivers was worth an estimated $150 million at the time of her death and left behind many extravagant possessions.
Christie’s auctioned off “The Private Collection of Joan Rivers” after her passing. In addition to furnishings in the Louis XVI style and several pieces from Fabergé, the items featured “Harry Winston, and Chanel to a Tiffany dog dish and silk pagoda dog bed.”
Revenue from the auction was $2,495,250, as reported by Art Daily. Melissa Rivers remarked to People magazine that her mother “was always adamant that even your greatest items should be used and appreciated and not just in the bank vault or storage.”
Rivers did not restrict her extravagant tastes to herself. She also had a reputation as “the most marvellous hostess,” thanks to the fact that she regularly entertained friends and family in her extravagant apartment and let them use her priceless collection of art and antiques.
Marjorie Stern told Christie’s, “She loved to prepare a formal table, which included finger bowls, of course, and she kept an eye on the table to make sure everybody were smiling and engaged in the conversation.”
I would constantly remind her that such ideas are completely out of touch with modern society.
A Feminist Joan Rivers there was not.
Joan Rivers broke barriers with her groundbreaking, highly successful career in the male-dominated field of stand-up comedy.
Time magazine claimed that Rivers “blazed trails for other women in the comedy profession by bringing taboo themes like abortion to light onstage,” therefore it’s no surprise that she was lauded by many as “a revolutionary feminist icon.” Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler, and Amy Schumer wouldn’t be here without her.
Feminists frequently criticised Rivers for her harsh comments on women’s size, looks, and sexuality. However, HuffPost criticised Time for calling her a “feminist icon,” arguing that the publication “all-too-blithely glosses over the fact that her humour was sometimes focused on knocking women down – and ruthlessly so.”
Remember, the foundation of her comic routine was sexism. HuffPost went on to highlight a couple of Rivers’ acerbic comments, such as “Kristen Stewart gained a full career by being able to juggle a director’s b***s” and “Elizabeth Taylor is so fat she puts mayonnaise on aspirin.”
Melissa Rivers, four years after her mother’s death, told V magazine that “she wanted to do whatever she wanted to do and wanted a guy to open a vehicle door for her.”
This is contrary to the feminist ideal that women should not be able to do anything without a man’s help. Melissa expanded, “She believed males should be wonderful to women. Still, she insisted on being handled with the utmost respect.
Your Assumptions About the Number of Plastic Procedures Joan Rivers Underwent may or may not be Correct.
Throughout her life, Joan Rivers was remarkably transparent about the plastic surgery she had. Rivers often made the fact that she was always changing her appearance the punchline of her jokes in her signature self-deprecating style.
Her plastic surgery jokes, such as “I noticed what’s going on beneath my chin,” were published in The Hollywood Reporter. I don’t want to be the one the president has to pardon on Thanksgiving,” and “I’ve had so much plastic surgery when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware.”
However, Rivers never revealed the precise number of her treatments, leaving fans to speculate. Melissa Rivers, her daughter and the book’s author, revealed the shocking amount in an admittedly perplexing biography, in which she also claimed that her mother “didn’t have as much work as people think she had,” totaling a whopping 365 procedures.
Melissa reveals in “The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation” that Joan’s lifelong concern about her looks was the root cause of her preoccupation with plastic surgery, but that by the time of her death, she had “gotten to a place where she realised she looked good.”
Melisa adds, “I find comfort in knowing that all the plastic surgery jokes she made about herself — and that were done at the expense of herself — she did what she needed to do to feel better.” She told me on her eightieth birthday, “You know what? I don’t look too bad for being eighty.
What Joan Rivers did with Empty Milk Dud Boxes is Totally Bizarre.
In terms of eccentricities and peculiar behaviours, Joan Rivers was not lacking. That much was clear when one considered Rivers’ peculiar recycling of Milk Dud containers.
Melissa Rivers writes that whenever her mother travelled, she would stow her cash in empty Milk Dud boxes. Melissa notes that the bills are the same size as paper money, making it unlikely that anyone would notice them if they were to go through her purse.
Melissa discovered this secret after her mother passed away, when she was cleaning up her grandmother’s flat in preparation for selling it. Melissa told People how her mother “loved to put away fun money about the house, primarily in ones and fives.”
She had searched all the “books and periodicals” in the apartment for concealed money, but she hadn’t bothered to examine the candy boxes before tossing them out.
Still, Rivers’ handbag always had more than a few Milk Dud cartons handy. Melissa recounts the day when Rivers was singled out by TSA personnel “for a security check” in the chapter titled “The Purse” of her memoir.
A trove of objects, including “a Ziploc bag filled with bacon pieces” and “a vial” of fake blood that Rivers carried to hurl at “terrorists” if her plane was hijacked, spilled out of her luggage.
Mothering was an Area where Joan Rivers could have Improved.
Jennifer Melissa Rivers was Joan Rivers’ only child, and the two have a tight but occasionally stormy bond. However, Joan’s mothering skills were often questionable, despite the depth of her love for her daughter.
Don’t brag about your easy delivery; it will make your children disrespect you. I used to wake my daughter up with, “Melissa, you ripped me to shreds.” In the words of Joan Rivers: “Now go back to sleep” (via The Telegraph).
Melissa said on Caroline Stanbury’s “Dear Media Divorced Not Dead” podcast that she “had a fairly typical childhood” until her life took a less conventional path as an adult, despite Joan’s unusual attitude on life.
“I believe because of that really conventional upbringing, when I was dating… when I got married, it caught me by surprise when my mom was like, ‘You need to be lot sluttier,'” Melissa said. ‘You need to put it out there,’ she said.
According to Melissa, her mother also took some extreme chances behind the wheel when she was a child. She once told me, “Missy, they didn’t have car seats when you were born, and you survived just fine,” Melissa recalls in her autobiography.
I always put you down on the passenger side floor. If I hadn’t been worried about creasing my shirt, I would have held you on my lap. Joan could have been joking, but the first infant safety seats were developed in the 1930s, as reported by Good Housekeeping.
Needles and Crosswords were Just two of the many Things Joan Rivers Performed in her own Inimitable Style.
The raunchy, fast-talking comic Joan Rivers also had a soft spot for needlepoint and spent time with her grandchildren. Melissa Rivers elaborated on her mother’s surprise habit in a chapter of her memoir titled “Pillow Talk,” while a 2006 story in The Jerusalem Post caught Rivers’ duality.
Melissa Rivers says of her mother’s evening needlepoint, “It soothed her down.” She’d go to bed with her stitching needles and thread, watch a grisly murder mystery on Investigation Discovery, and then watch more murders unfold on the screen as she worked.
Melissa also describes the pillowcases that Rivers made, which feature sayings like “Don’t Expect Praise Without Envy Until You’re Dead” and “Fashion Knows No Pain.”
Melissa writes in in her memoir that Joan was “a horrible speller” who would cheat at crosswords by cramming in misspelt words where they didn’t belong. Melissa claims that “no puzzle got incomplete.” “When I pointed out the error, she’d remark, “Don’t bother me with the technicalities.
So long as it does, I’m good with it. Melissa says lovingly, “Somewhere in paradise there’s a petite blonde woman misreading a four-letter phrase for ‘Asian housemaid,'” as she describes the crossword puzzle book and Rivers’ “favourite pens” she placed in her casket.
Joan Rivers “Liked to Lie” and Make Stuff up.
Offstage as well as on, Joan Rivers was a master storyteller. Of course, her tales weren’t necessarily grounded in reality. “Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers,” written by Lesley Bennett, details the comedian’s history of embellishing the truth.
When discussing Rivers with Vogue, the author recalled her most shocking lie: that she was a member of the Greek honour organisation Phi Beta Kappa. Bennett asserted, “She didn’t graduate with any honours,” and further stated that Rivers’ fabrications were “all about image building: repairing what nature had failed to provide you.
“The story that Joan Rivers’ date died at Le Cirque over a passionate dinner was disproved by NY Eater during an interview with Howard Stern. According to a “official statement” released by the posh New York City eatery, “No one has perished at Le Cirque.” Crème brulee is to die for, but that’s about all.
In an article for The Daily Mail, Melissa Rivers revealed her mother’s penchant for embellishment, writing, “She was unpleasant, vain, humiliating, an incorrigible liar… and hysterically amusing.”
Melissa continued by saying that her mother “mostly fibbed by embellishing a tale she was giving to make it better or more fascinating.” And, he continued, Joan Rivers was “awful at it” when it came to needing to lie that “ironically.”
She and her Daughter Melissa had “Big Conflicts,” According to Joan.
People could have gotten the impression that Melissa and Joan Rivers were inseparable. Together, they hosted “Fashion Police,” appeared on “Celebrity Apprentice,” and starred in the reality shows “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?”
But communication between the two wasn’t always easy. Melissa admitted on “TODAY” that “there were some tremendous arguments” between them.
Melissa said that, after her father’s tragic suicide in 1987, she took out her resentment on her mother. Melissa told Dr. Jennifer Ashton, chief medical correspondent for ABC News, for the podcast “Life After Suicide,”
“I was really upset at my mom, really mad, and we’ve spoken very openly about that.” According to the Daily News, things became so bad that they didn’t talk to one other for an entire year before “deciding to come back into each other’s lives.”
Melissa acknowledged that it took some time to regain her footing. To paraphrase, “It wasn’t like we woke up and were all right the next day.”
Time is needed to make the journey. As an aside, that doesn’t mean you’re not combative. The mother-daughter synergy we shared was a big factor in the success of both our reality programme and our friendship on the red carpet.
What Really Drove Joan Rivers’ Strange Fixation with Making Fun of Elizabeth Taylor
Many of Joan Rivers’ gags over the years have Elizabeth Taylor as the target, such as: “She has a bumper sticker that says, ‘Save the whales,’ and in small print, ‘for appetisers,'” as reported by Vanity Fair. But why would Rivers pick on the “Cleopatra” actress so often?
According to Joan Rivers’ biographer Leslie Bennett (via Vanity Fair), “the major person she was jealous of was Elizabeth Taylor, who was so gorgeous that she was a movie star before she was out of childhood.”
In contrast, Melissa Rivers claims in her autobiography that Joan secretly admired Taylor despite his constant mockery. Melissa notes, “They were close personal friends with actor Roddy McDowall and worked diligently together for AIDS research.”
The second truth is that many of the jokes my mother attributed to Elizabeth Taylor were actually just wonderful fat jokes.
Marie Claire, another media site, suggests that Joan Rivers’ scathing criticisms of other women were motivated by her own “crippling insecurities.” In an interview, Rivers is quoted as saying,
“No male ever told me I was attractive… no man ever told me I had a lovely figure,” which the magazine claims is the motivation for her plastic surgery compulsion.
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Ashes of Joan Rivers are Dispersed Among “Friends all across the World.”
Melissa Rivers, Joan Rivers’ daughter, states that her mother “hated more people than she liked” in her autobiography. She had a phoney flight manifest prepared with the names of everyone she wanted to be on board “Death Flight 5000” before it crashed into K2. The comedian, though, was widely known to have many close friends across the globe.
Two years after Joan Rivers’ death, Melissa came on “TODAY” to talk about the settlement she reached in her negligence case against the hospital where her mother was treated and ultimately passed away. The word closure has been used far too often.
Melissa stated to host Matt Lauer that it was time to forget the past and move ahead. I plan to lobby for legislation as a means of advancing our cause. I plan to initiate this in Albany with the expectation that it would lead to a federal mandate for more stringent oversight of outpatient ambulatory care facilities.
Melissa also revealed that she had dispersed her mother’s ashes among friends in different parts of the world. She’s in the shops, restaurants, and recording studios throughout the world, from the United Kingdom to Scotland to Mexico to Wyoming to California.
Melissa added, “She is everywhere nobody would expect her to be,” before confessing that she had preserved some of her mother’s ashes for herself and hidden them “in my closet, behind my shoes.”