Watch the NBC News primetime special “Celebrating Joan Rivers” Friday night at 9pm/8c
A jewel-encrusted toe tag and Meryl Streep bawling — that's the kind of funeral Joan Rivers fantasized about. In a 2012 book, the brash comedian said she didn't want a sedate, tasteful sendoff when she died — she wanted it to be as over the top as she was, "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.
It seems likely there will be a rabbi at Rivers' funeral, though, since it's being held Sunday at Temple Emanu-El in New York City. A spokesperson for Streep did not immediately respond to a question about whether she would attend, but Vinton told NBC News he is laid up with the flu in Florida and wouldn't be able to make it.
He said that he and Rivers shared a stage in Las Vegas many times and she heard him sing, "Mr. Lonely" nightly and doubted she wanted him to reprise it at her funeral. "I think that was just her sense of humor," he said. "I'm so sorry to hear what happened. It was a shock to me. She was a terrific person to be with on stage and off stage and she’ll never be replaced. She did her schtick on people but she really had a love and concern for fellow entertainers. There’s a lot of jealousy in Hollywood, but she appreciated other people’s talent."