Joan Rivers Wanted Paparazzi, Meryl Streep at Her "Showbiz Affair" Funeral

Us Weekly

Even when speaking about death, Joan Rivers was hilarious, wise, and inimitable. 

The celebrated comedienne, who passed away on Thursday, Sept. 4, at the age of 81, had talked about aging and death repeatedly over her years in the spotlight. In her 2012 book I Hate Everyone… Starting with Me, the late Rivers even outlined her plans for her funeral.

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"When I die (and yes, Melissa, that day will come; and yes, Melissa, everything's in your name,)" Joan wrote, referencing her only child, daughter Melissa Rivers. "I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action." 

She didn't stop there, however — Joan had every detail, from her outfit to the guests to the special touches, planned out.

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"I want Craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene!" she insisted. "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." 

The famously talkative star also joked to Esquire in May 2007 about her last words: "My last words? They might be, 'But it was a joke. Put down the gun! It was a joke! Arrgh!'"

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On aging, she quipped to The Huffington Post in January 2012, "I don't give a damn what people think. If you don't like my opinion, too bad. That's the only good thing about age." She went on to add of her hopes of reincarnation, "I would be the biggest musical comedy star ever. Audra McDonald, I wouldn't mind being her. Or Patti LuPone but with a nose job, and married to Stephen Sondheim: that would be my ideal life." 

Melissa touched on her mother's storied sense of humor in a statement about her death on Thursday. 

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"My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," she said. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."

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