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Monday, 8 September 2014

Joan Rivers's Funeral: Somber, Bawdy, and Star-Studded

Howard Stern, center, arrives at a funeral service for comedian Joan Rivers at Temple Emanu-El in New York, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. Rivers died Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. She was 81. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Howard Stern, center, arrives at a funeral service for comedian Joan Rivers at Temple Emanu-El in New York, Sunday, …
Funerals are rarely described as star-studded affairs, but Joan Rivers was anything — everything — but ordinary.
The iconic comedian and red carpet mainstay, who died last Thursday at the age of 81 in New York City, was honored on Sunday by family, friends, and celebrities including Howard Stern, Rosie O'Donnell, Kathy Griffin, Whoopi Goldberg, Hugh Jackman, Barbara Walters, Michael Kors, Ivanka Trump, Bernadette Peters, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
The service took place at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan and was both somber and raucous.
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Order of Service for Joan Rivers
Order of Service for Joan Rivers
Stern delivered a eulogy, which included jokes about Joan's private parts, among other things. "I hope Joan is somewhere chasing Johnny Carson with a baseball bat," he said, referring to the long-running and never-resolved feud between the two show business legends. Stern also called the trailblazing Rivers "a best friend to the world." 
Guests at the funeral entered to a performance by the New York City Gay Men's Chorus and Broadway star Audra McDonald later sang "Smile." (The bittersweet tune was also sung at Michael Jackson's service in 2009.) Hugh Jackman performed "Quiet Please There's a Lady on Stage" from The Boy From Oz.
Other speakers included Deborah Norville, Margie Stern, and Joan's daughter, Melissa Rivers.
While it was an undeniably sad event, there was room for humor. Gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a longtime friend of Rivers, reportedly quipped, "At 81, Joan Rivers did not last as long this service."
Fans and photographers were lined up along Fifth Avenue, hoping to catch a glimpse of many of the A-listers who came to pay their respects.
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And while some may bristle at the idea of paparazzi at a funeral, it's exactly what Rivers would have wanted. In her 2012 book, I Hate Everyone... Starting With Me, Rivers joked about how she'd like her funeral to go.
"I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action," she wrote. "I want Craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way. I don't want some rabbi rambling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents... I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyoncé's."
Rivers's body was cremated on Saturday. Her remains will be flown back to Los Angeles where they will reportedly be buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery. 
The New York Police Department and New York City Health Department are both continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the star's death. She was undergoing a procedure on her throat when she momentarily stopped breathing and never recovered.

Melissa Rivers, Joan Rivers

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