A superstar send-off, just as Rivers requested


Perhaps the best description of Joan Rivers's funeral came from the late, great comedian herself.

Ms Rivers, who died last week aged 81, wrote in 2012 how she wanted her send-off to be "a huge showbiz affair... 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."

She largely got her wish. Mourners in Manhattan's Temple Emanu-El included radio host Howard Stern, actress Sarah Jessica Parker, mogul Donald Trump, comedian Kathy Griffin and film star Whoopi Goldberg - though no Meryl Streep.

Howard Stern delivered the eulogy, describing Ms Rivers as "the best friend in the world… a big sister… a crazy aunt at a barmitzvah."

Such was the impact of Joan Rivers's death on the entertainment world that Broadway theatres dimmed their marquee lights in her honour on Tuesday despite the fact that she did not meet the criteria for the tribute.

Theatre directors initially refused the honour because she had not acted on Broadway for 20 years.

Charlotte St Martin of the Broadway League, which represents producers and theatre owners, told the Guardian that the decision to call for the tribute was made "due to the outpouring of love and respect for Joan Rivers".

Until last month, she appeared healthy, but suffered a cardiac arrest during a medical procedure. Ms Rivers's daughter, Melissa, announced her death on Thursday night.

The grande dame of American comedy will be remembered for her caustic wit, trademark outspoken style and as an early advocate of plastic surgery. She was renowned for poking fun at herself as well as other celebrities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the first to offer his condolences. He said: "Joan Rivers brought laughter to millions around the world and was proud of her Jewish heritage and a vocal supporter of the state of Israel. We will miss her deeply."

Prince Charles said: "Joan Rivers was an extraordinary woman with an original and indefatigable spirit, an unstoppable sense of humour and an enormous zest for life. She will be hugely missed and utterly irreplaceable."

Ms Rivers came under fire recently after she told a photographer who had asked her for a comment on the mounting Arab casualties in the Gaza conflict that Palestinians "deserved" to die. She said: "When you declare war, you declare war… You're dead, you deserve to be dead."

Ms Rivers later posted a note on Facebook, saying: "I regret that I did use the word 'Palestinian' when I meant to say 'Hamas' and obviously, there are many good Palestinians who, like Israelis, want peace."

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