Joan Rivers Was Fearless: Melissa Rivers Opens Up, Pays Tribute To Mom

Since Joan Rivers passed away tragically three months ago, her daughter Melissa Rivers had been silent. For the first time, she gave a public tribute to her mother at the Hollywood Reporter‘s Women in Entertainment breakfast.

Melissa was a guest of honor at the high-profile event attended by some of the most powerful women in Hollywood, including Shonda Rhimes, who was honored with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award.

Rivers talked about how brave and courageous her trailblazing mother was, paving the way for women in show business.

“My mother was fearless, and I don’t mean she didn’t have any fears — I mean even though she was only 5-foot-2, she stood tall and walked through them. And that is what made her such a brilliant performer. She was willing to say what others were thinking and too frightened to admit.”

Joan Rivers made fun of herself, which gave her the license to make fun of others. At the age of 78, she began co-hosting the E! Celebrity Fashion Police and also starred in a reality series with her daughter, Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?

Melissa talked about how others remembered her mother but acknowledged that although others thought of Joan Rivers as a superstar, brilliant and one of the best comics who ever lived, for Melissa, she was simply mother.

Although still grieving, she talked about the new normal since her mother died and joked about needing a job and being an orphan.

“For me the last three months and six days — not that I’m counting — have been different to say the least. Not just because it is the first time I’m speaking in tribute to my mother, but because every single person in this room could hire me, and a few have actually fired me. You know who you are but I don’t want you to feel bad… but technically I am now an orphan.”

She also shared a story of what had driven her mother to overcome her fears — the desire for stardom — and a bold move Joan Rivers made at the age of 8, sending her picture to MGM.

“In her mind, this little girl was clearly a star and she sent the photo — frame and all. My grandma was not pleased as it was a $50 frame.”

Melissa said if Joan Rivers had been invited to the event, it would have made her happy.

“She’d not only be grateful and proud, she’d be beyond herself. She’d be sitting at the table, beaming, while very discreetly shoving croissants and silverware into her purse.”

Sarah Silverman, who introduced Melissa, said Joan Rivers was still doing her best work at age 81 and left us “unfinished.”

Rivers went into cardiac arrest after an endoscopic procedure on Aug. 28 and died six days later. Complications from the procedure led to a loss of oxygen and brain damage.

[Image: Hollywood Reporter via Google]