In Her Own Words: New Fashion Police Host Melissa Rivers' Most Touching Reflections About Her 'Fearless' Mother Joan
As she prepares to take her mom's seat on the E! show, we look back what Melissa has shared since Joan's passing
Melissa joins Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski in hosting the show that her mother – who was 81 years old when she died in New York City on Sept. 4, 2014, due to complications during an endoscopic procedure – led for five years.
Before a new era of Fashion Police begins, let’s take a look back at everything Melissa has said about her legendary mother in the last year.
On Missing Her Confidante
“Every time something is funny – you know, something would happen during the day or I’d talk to someone and they’d say something, and I’d always say, ‘Okay, don’t forget to tell your mom, don’t forget to tell Mom, don’t forget to tell Mom, I can’t forget to tell her when I talk to her,’ ” Melissa told PEOPLE in May.
“I still find myself doing that, and it’s tough. But it’s also a very normal part of the grieving process,” she added.
On Losing Her Professional Partner
“I was part of a comedy team. I was the straight man. And now I’m a solo act,” Melissa told AARP The Magazine in May. “That’s the hard part. I’m trying to find my voice.”
“My mother and I each had our own lanes. She’d work on one thing, I’d work on another and then we’d come up with the game plan,” she said. “Suddenly it feels like the work hasn’t doubled; it’s tripled. There’s a new entity: the estate and the legacy. And there’s no map. I don’t want to blow it, so there’s a lot of pressure.”
RELATED VIDEO: Melissa Rivers Reveals When She Misses Joan Most
On Even Missing the Not-So-Great Things About Joan
“You miss even the s—-iest things: I miss when she’d come in and rearrange my furniture and tell me how I ran my house wrong and criticize everything. I miss the criticism! I’m still in that phase,” Melissa told AARP.
“She was so kind and generous to the point you wanted to smack her. She’d be in my house and someone would say, ‘Oh, I like those candlesticks.’ And she’d say, ‘Take them!’ They were mine! She’d say, ‘You can get more.’ ”
On Fashion Police’s Struggles in the Wake of Joan’s Death
“Just like a family, when the matriarch dies, the sisters started fighting, someone tried to marry in, not a great match, live and learn,” Melissa told Today’s Hoda Kotb in May about the show’s casting shakeup. “My biggest complaint was the feeling that [Kathy Griffin] kind of s— all over my mother’s legacy in her statement on leaving. I know everything was so heightened and everybody was so crazy, but that was my takeaway.”
“I know that was not an intentional reading of it, but that’s how I felt. By calling the comedy and the style of it old-fashioned – it was like, I understand what you were doing, you’re trying to save yourself, but don’t crap all over my mother to do it.”
On Joan’s Love for Her Craft
“To her, comedy was music. There was a rhythm, but instead of notes, there were words. And just like any of her fellow Grammy Award winners who have been on exhibition in the museum, you know she loved to play,” Melissa said in a statement about a tribute to her mother at the Grammys Museum.
On Joan’s Red Carpet Legacy
“It’s hard to believe it was 20 years ago that my mother and I stood on this very red carpet for the first time. We didn’t know that, what was happening was, walking into a building was turning into an event,” Melissa said during a February tribute to Joan during the E! Oscars pre-show.
“My mom asked questions that nobody else dared to ask. So here I am, 20 years later – one last Oscars, one last red carpet and one last time to say, ‘Back to you, mom.’ ”
On Joan’s Love for Daytime TV
“The daytime television community saved her,” Melissa shared at the Daytime Emmy Awards in April. “With their support and encouragement, she created her daytime talk show. It ran for five years and brought her the only Emmy she would ever win. This strong foundation reinvigorated her career. My mother felt loved and valued by the daytime community. For that, I will always be grateful.
RELATED VIDEO: Melissa Rivers’ New Normal Since Joan’s Passing
On Joan’s Relationship With Her Grandson, Cooper
“They were just partners in crime,” Melissa told PEOPLE in May. “I would say to her, ‘Are you really trying to undermine all my authority?’ And she’d say, ‘Yeah, pretty much. Being a grandparent is the best because it’s all of the fun and none of the crap.’ ”
“There wasn’t that generational gap. It’s that great joke, ‘Why do grandparents and grandkids get along so well? Common enemy,’ ” she added.
On Seeing Joan on the Fashion Police Set
“Nothing made me smile more than when she would crack herself up before she even got to the punch line of a joke,” Melissa said during the special Fashion Police: Remembering Joan. “She knew what was coming and she was laughing before she even said the funny part.
On Joan’s Living Will
“She had written in specifically that she was to be able to go on stage. For an hour. And be funny,” Melissa told PEOPLE about her mother’s quality of life mandates. “She wasn’t going to be happy wheeled in to sit in the sun, you know? It was an amazing gift to give me, knowing exactly how she wanted her life to be. Not that it’s ever an easy decision, but I knew I was making the right one.”
“She always said to me, ‘Don’t you ever mix my ashes with your father’s.’ Because she was still kind of angry about the suicide. As much as she got over it, she didn’t really get over it,” Melissa also said. “I’m telling you, if there’s an afterlife, my dad’s reaction was like, ‘Oh s—! She’s here and she’s pissed!’ ”
RELATED VIDEO: Melissa Rivers’ Plans for Her Mother’s Ashes
On Joan’s Final Moments
“I believe she knew I was there,” Melissa told PEOPLE. “I was grateful to have had those few days to be able to let go a little bit. I tried to make the transition as peaceful and beautiful as she would want it to be.
On Joan’s Boldness
“My mother was fearless,” Melissa said at The Hollywood Reporter‘s Women in Entertainment breakfast just three months after Joan’s death. “She was willing to say what others were thinking. She thought of herself as a comic and had to be funnier than everyone else. She just wanted to do her job and that was to make people laugh.”
Fashion Police returns Monday at 8 p.m. ET on E!