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Joan Rivers’s funeral: Cameras capture the ‘showbiz affair’ she always wanted

Sarah Jessica Parker, Whoopi Goldberg, Howard Stern and other notables from the entertainment world arrive for funeral services for comedian Joan Rivers. (Video: Reuters)

Joan Rivers’s funeral on Sunday morning was an A-list event — fitting, because it’s what she always wanted. All the cable news outlets covered the services and reminded everyone that Rivers hoped her funeral would be “a huge showbiz affair.” A red carpet funeral, as MSNBC put it.

Rivers, who died Thursday at age 81, got her wish — though there were mixed reports about whether there was actually a red carpet near Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. Dozens of news cameras were set up outside the synagogue to capture the crowded scene and stars heading into the private service at 11 a.m. In addition to Rivers’s family (daughter Melissa, grandson Cooper) and close friends, many celebrities paid their respects: Howard Stern, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Kristin Chenoweth, Kathy Griffin and Donald Trump. Plus, newscasters Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer and Deborah Norville, scheduled to speak at the service.

On “Reliable Sources,” CNN cameras showed familiar faces such as Walters, Stern and Goldberg  arriving at the temple, which reporters said can seat thousands. In Cindy Adams’s Page Six column on Sunday morning in the New York Post, Adams (a close friend of Rivers who spoke at the funeral) said the Gay Men’s Chorus would sing “What a Dame.” Plus, performances from Audra McDonald and Hugh Jackman were planned.

If it sounds like a spectacle, that’s what Rivers intended. CNN quoted extensively from Rivers’s 2012 book, in which she talked about her desires for a funeral that was “a huge showbiz affair,” with Meryl Streep crying in different accents; paparazzi; craft services; a Harry Winston toe tag; and lots of glitz and glamour. “Don’t give me some rabbi rambling on,” she wrote. “I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair will be blowing more than Beyonce’s on stage.”

On “Reliable Sources,” host Brian Stelter got Larry King on the phone, and he talked about Rivers’s legacy. Fox News Channel included news updates in “America’s News HQ,” with shots of “Fashion Police” co-stars Kelly Osbourne and Giuliana Rancic going into the funeral. On MSNBC, anchor Melissa Harris-Perry talked to “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead in studio about Rivers’s impact on women in comedy. An NBC reporter was stationed outside the temple as well (as someone screamed “baba booey” in the background).

Earlier this week, the New York medical examiner’s office confirmed that it is “investigating the circumstances” at the clinic where Rivers went into cardiac arrest as she was undergoing a minor throat surgical procedure two weeks ago. Autopsy results were inconclusive, according to reports.

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