life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Joan Rivers

On a Wednesday night she took to the stage and did her standup routine. At 81, she could have retired and stayed home, but she wanted to work. She had another show planned for Friday, but first she had to take care of something else -- an outpatient procedure at an Upper East Side clinic.

She joked "At 81, I could go at any minute."

How prophetic.

Something went terribly wrong at the clinic. She went into cardiac and respiratory arrest, was rushed to Mt. Sinai Hospital in critical condition. A week later, the family made the difficult decision -- take her off life support and let her go.

She was a stand up comic, talk show host, author, director, reality show star. A smart businesswoman. An Ivy League alum.

A wife, mother, grandmother.

A quiet philanthropist.

Some people are surprised at how involved she was with various causes. She didn't publicize it.

But I knew.

Years ago she did a benefit at my synagogue. I believe the proceeds of that night were split between the synagogue and Make-A-Wish, the charity she was supporting at the time. I wasn't able to go, but tonight I am seeing posts from many of my friends. She was warm and friendly. She was generous, stayed on the stage much longer than the promised 20 minutes. She was wonderful.

She once wrote:

"When I die, 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 Beyoncé's."

The funeral will be Sunday at Temple Emanuel. Should be an interesting affair.

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