At private funeral for Joan Rivers, celebrities inside and fans outside N.Y. temple

by | Sep 19, 2014 | Obituaries

Howard Stern offered a eulogy and Hugh Jackman provided a musical interlude at the celebrity-studded funeral for comedian Joan Rivers.

Hundreds of mourners attended the private service on Sunday, Sept. 7 at Temple Emanu-El in New York City. The temple’s rabbi, Joshua Davidson, offered the opening prayer at the funeral, which was closed to the media.

Fans and paparazzi also gathered outside the synagogue to pay their respects.

Television host Charlie Rose called the funeral “moving, funny, loving,” and said Rivers “would have liked it,” The New York Times reported.

Rose was among the television personalities, journalists and entertainment stars who came to remember Rivers, 81, the trailblazing comic who died a week after being rushed to Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital after her heart stopped during throat surgery at a clinic. Doctors at the hospital put her in an induced coma.

Her daughter, Melissa, with whom the late comic appeared on a reality television show, also spoke at the funeral. The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus performed show tunes and Broadway actress Audra McDonald sang Smile, according to the Times.

In a statement on the Joan Rivers website, Melissa Rivers wrote, “My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.”

In her 2012 book, I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me, Rivers described her funeral.

“When I die (and, yes, Melissa, that day will come; and, yes, Melissa, everything’s in your name), I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action…I want Craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way,” she wrote, adding, “I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents…I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyonce’s.” (JTA)