Here's How Joan Rivers Wanted Her Funeral to Go

Legendary comedian spoke a lot about death
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2014 10:59 AM CDT
In this 2005 photo, Joan Rivers and her daughter, Melissa, pose on the red carpet during arrivals at the 62nd annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

(Newser) – In life, Joan Rivers was perfectly comfortable talking about death, so the beloved comedian had already made known her wishes for her funeral, the Huffington Post reports. In Rivers' 2012 book, she wrote:

  • "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. I don't want some rabbi rambling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents. I don't want a eulogy; I want Bobby Vinton to pick up my head and sing 'Mr. Lonely.' 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 Beyonce's."

And just a month ago, TMZ reports, Rivers good-naturedly chatted with a paparazzo and told him she wanted her tombstone to read: "She had a great time." More of Rivers' best quotes on the inevitable end of life, per E!, HuffPo, and Us:

  • On why she "constantly" thought about death: "In your 80s, you'd be foolish not to think about that. I am definitely going to be cremated. I've left money so the dogs can be taken care of. I've said to Melissa, 'Sell anything and everything you don't want. Don't feel beholden to my possessions.' I feel almost hysterical on that. I don't want them to have a sense of guilt."
  • On another possibility for her remains: "I've had so much plastic surgery, when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware."
  • On the Oscars' "In Memoriam" segment: "A good death reel can almost compensate for five hours of French actors trying to make adorable acceptance speeches. One of my favorite things to do is guess which of the dead actors will get the most applause and who's going to be surprisingly underappreciated."
  • On her possible last words: "My last words? They might be, 'But it was a joke. Put down the gun! It was a joke! Arrgh!'"
  • On how she might—or might notbe remembered: "Enjoy me now," she told E! this year. "Van Gogh—poor son of a b---h—didn't sell one painting in his lifetime and now it's, 'Oh, it's a Van Gogh!' He doesn't know! Who cares afterward? When it's over, it's over, so enjoy it now."
In a 2012 video obtained by ETOnline, Rivers, about to go in for surgery, tells her emotional daughter, "I'm no chicken. I've had a great life, an amazing life. ... You've been wonderful, we've had a great ride together. If something happens, things are fine and life is fine. And life is so much fun. It's one big movie." Rivers' funeral will be held at Manhattan's Temple Emanu-El on Sunday, CNN reports. Click for remembrances of Joan or see images of her through the years.

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