Melissa Rivers Opens Up About Decision to Let Joan Go

28 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Joan Rivers ‘Can We Talk?’ Exhibit Coming to Grammy Museum.

WASHINGTON, DC— Before the unexpected death of her mother last September, Melissa and Joan Rivers were Hollywood’s most well-known mother-daughter tag team.The Grammy Museum announced this week that some of the late comedienne’s most prized possessions will be featured in a new exhibit, appropriately titled “Joan Rivers: Can We Talk?” The announcement comes some three months after the Recording Academy honored Rivers with a posthumous Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album. (Still, Rivers was left out of that evening’s In Memoriam tribute and was also absent from the Oscars’ segment weeks later). “Can We Talk?” opens at the Grammy Museum on June 8, a day that would have been Rivers’ 82nd birthday.So is it too soon for her daughter Melissa to write a book about her mum, published within a few months of her death an just in time for the just-gone Mother’s Day in the States?

In a revealing, intimate interview with AARP The Magazine, Rivers reminisces about the cherished memories she and her mother created and provides insight on what her life looks like now without her best friend and creative confidante. Hell no… Certainly the publishers knew an opportunity when they saw one, with an editor apparently approaching Melissa as she walked down the aisle immediately after her mother’s funeral and pressing a business card into her hand.

If the 2010 documentary A Piece of Work intrigued you, this inside look into the tireless entertainer’s life will be worth the cost of admission and then some. In discussing what she misses most about her mother as well as the many friends who have helped her cope, Melissa shares her story of the lessons learned and growth that have come with having now lost both parents. On this occasion, which celebrates her 82nd birthday, it’s also an honor to have her incredible legacy included in the Grammy Museum’s ongoing tribute to the greatest comedic icons of all time,” the late comedian’s daughter, Melissa Rivers, said in a statement. “To her, comedy was music. And just like any of her fellow Grammy Award winners who have been on exhibition in the museum, you know she loved to play.” The exhibit will include stage costumes, a vintage Louis Vuitton travel trunk, family photographs, Rivers’ 1984 Harvard Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year trophy, her Gold record award from 1983 and her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star award.

The result is an affectionate – and honest – portrait of a difficult, stubborn Jewish mother through a series of amusing recollections and breezy personal essays. ‘My mother had always been a bit of a handful to put it nicely,’ Melissa writes. ‘Huge pain in the ass would be less genteel, but it would be slightly more accurate.’ Yet she was also generous, talented, fearless and a self-made woman, her indomitable spirit triumphing against the odds. Things are crazy around here!” “She was one of the first women directors ever, with Rabbit Test [the 1978 feature comedy debut of Billy Crystal], and she had acting credits. From the suicide of her beloved husband Edgar, to her fallout with one-time mentor Johnny Carson, to multiple plastic surgeries to her hawking jewellery on QVC – all these things are assumed knowledge, already transmitted to the world through Joan’s act. But what does emerge is a genuine sense of what it was like to be brought up by this remarkable, and often peculiar woman, with her punishing work ethic (even into her 80s), addiction to glamorous designer labels and unbending attitudes to life.

In a typically revelatory sentence, Melissa entertainingly discloses that: ‘One of her favourite games was answering the phone in a foreign accent in case it was someone she didn’t want to talk to. Even when Melissa was a child, she’d be dragged around to the nightclubs where Mum was performing – so even though Joan instilled in her daughter the importance of a good education, Melissa notes that ‘before I could even recite the Pledge Of Allegiance I could recite my mother’s act’. You miss even the sh-ttiest things: I miss when she’d come in and rearrange my furniture and tell me how I ran my house wrong and criticize everything. Melissa necessarily played second fiddle to her dominant mother on the red-carpet commentaries they did together, but she here she comes into here own. My mother’s definition of quality of life was having all her faculties and being able to go on stage for one hour and, here was the kicker, be funny.

No wonder Melissa’s son Cooper – on whom Rivers clearly doted to an almost suffocating degree, called her ‘Nana New Face.’ Given her fixation on looks, it might not be a huge surprise that Joan hid money around her lavish New York apartment that she could splash out on haute couture treats without her accountant’s knowledge – but it’s more of an eye-opener that she was obsessed with serial killers and enjoyed needlepoint. The reason being that if she was on a flight hijacked by Islamist terrorists, she could throw the blood and pork on them and they wouldn’t get their promised 72 virgins. And for all that she might have been a feminist icon for taking on men at what was then their own game of stand-up, the view of the never politically-correct Rivers was that ‘feminists are just lesbians who can’t play golf’. Yet after all the laughs both with and at this one-of-a-kind, larger-than-death character, her daughter ends on a tender note, poignantly describing her last moment as the affection that underpins even the wildest of Melissa’s anecdotes comes finally to the fore. • The Book Of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation by Melissa Rivers is published by Random House USA for £18.99. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse.

The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors.

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