Melissa Rivers Bids Farewell to Her Mother's Casket
Meanwhile, New York agencies continue to investigate the cause and manner of Rivers's death
An openly grieving Melissa Rivers bid a tearful farewell to her mother Joan Rivers, who died Sept. 4 at age 81, as the comedian’s casket was loaded into a hearse in New York City Saturday, reportedly on its way to a crematorium in preparation for Sunday morning’s funeral at New York City’s Temple Emanu-El.
Wearing dark glasses, the only child of Joan Rivers, Melissa, 46, stood with her son Cooper, 13, outside the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, leaning in to touch the casket one last time.
The mahogany casket, according to New York’s Daily News, was carried into the hearse by six pallbearers in dark suits.
Sunday’s service, scheduled to start at 11 a.m., will be private. No details regarding her burial were released, but The Insider with Yahoo reported that Rivers will later be moved to Los Angeles’s Forest Lawn Cemetery.
The Fashion Police star’s publicist told the Associated Press that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to God’s Love, We Deliver; Guide Dogs for the Blind; or Our House.
In her 2012 book, I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me, Rivers, aiming to be funny as always, specifically directed a passage to her daughter regarding her funeral.
“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,” she wrote, adding, “I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyonce‘s.”
Having shared an incredible bond with her mother, Melissa once wrote on a blog, “She’s my mom my partner, my best friend. I can’t even think of life without her.”
Describing the scene in the hospital room during her friend Joan’s final days, New York Post columnist Cindy Adams wrote for Sunday’s editions that Melissa “never left her mother s side, never went to her own east side apartment. Stayed, lived, slept in a room the hospital provided for her.”
Of Joan, Adams wrote, “She could feel no pain. She’d never suffer through some long-term debilitating sickness. Our Joan wasn’t there anymore.”
Medical Examiner’s Probe
The New York City medical examiner’s office tells PEOPLE that after an examination of Rivers’s case, the “cause and manner of death” is still unknown, “pending further studies.” The office will continue to investigate and run tests before determining cause of death and releasing its findings.
The New York State Health Department is also probing the clinic Rivers was treated in, Yorkville Endoscopy in Manhattan. As part of its investigation the DOH has been on-site at the clinic, interviewing staff and reviewing medical records. There have been no complaints or violations to date relating to the clinic, which opened in 2013, according to the DOH.
A spokesperson for Yorkville Endoscopy would say only that, due to health-care privacy laws, they can’t disclose “any information about patients” including Rivers, adding, “in the event of an adverse incident, Yorkville Endoscopy would promptly report to appropriate government and regulatory agencies and would proactively cooperate with any governmental review.”
• Reporting by SARA HAMMEL and GILLIAN TELLING