Rivers Remembered At Star-Studded Funeral
Hugh Jackman sang Quiet Please, There's a Lady on Stage, at the conclusion of a star-studded send-off for comedian Joan Rivers that brought together her worlds of Hollywood, theatre, fashion and media.
Howard Stern delivered the eulogy, Broadway singer-actress Audra McDonald sang Smile and bagpipers played New York, New York.
It was a funeral befitting a superstar. The New York City Gay Men's Chorus sang Broadway hits including Hey Big Spender before six-time Tony Award-winner McDonald sang her tribute to Rivers, a champion of theatre for decades.
Tributes and reminiscences were delivered by TV anchor Deborah Norville, close friend Margie Stern, columnist Cindy Adams and Rivers' daughter, Melissa, who spoke about how she respected her mother, who died on Thursday at 81.
Bagpipers from the New York City Police Department played on the streets as mourners filed out of Temple Emanu-El, many dabbing their eyes.
"She would love this. We've all said this so many times: The one person who would really think this is the greatest thing ever is the lady who it's all about, and she's not here," said Norville afterward, amid the throngs of well-wishers and sound of bagpipes.
A legion of notables turned out to remember Rivers: comedians Kathy Griffin, Rosie O'Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg; E! network Fashion Police colleague and friend Kelly Osbourne; Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick; and celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.
Theatre stars Bernadette Peters, Alan Cumming and Tommy Tune were there. Record producer Clive Davis was, too. Fashion designers Carolina Herrera, Dennis Basso and Michael Kors were in attendance. Stars from TV such as Barbara Walters, Geraldo Rivera, Diane Sawyer, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb and Andy Cohen. Late night band leader Paul Shaffer. And moguls Barry Diller, Donald Trump and Steve Forbes.
"It was uplifting. We were celebrating her life," Basso said.
Mourners had lined up outside the Fifth Avenue synagogue and waited for their names to be checked against a list before entering.
A crowd of media stood watch behind barriers, and fans from as far away as Australia and England lined the streets.
Actress Susan Claassen, said: "I always like to say that in a world of knockoffs, Joan was an original".
The comedian detailed in her 2012 book "I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me" that she hoped for "a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action" and "Hollywood all the way".
Instead of a rabbi talking, Rivers asked for "Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents" and "a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyonce's". Indeed, her wishes were so important they were printed in the funeral program.
The funeral program also included a page with three classic Rivers' lines printed out: "Can we talk?" ''Who are you wearing?" and "Because I'm a funny person". AAP