The Joan Rivers Her Family And Friends Knew

The late comedienne Joan Rivers was a lot of things, but dull was not one of them. While Joan Rivers was known as a brassy, classy, and sassy personality, there was a softer side to Joan. Despite her ridiculously successful popularity, and her luxuriously extravagant lifestyle, Joan Rivers was a woman with a kind heart.

On June 22, Christie’s auction house will hold a live auction of The Private Collection of Joan Rivers. Her elegantly appointed penthouse apartment will be stripped of its lovely decor and furnishings and sold to the highest bidder. In honor of this event, Christie’s spoke with some of Joan’s close friends. Sharing memories of the warmth of both Joan and her apartment, a picture of Joan Rivers’ true personality emerges as that of a woman who thought of others before herself.

Joan Rivers and Daughter

Never say Joan Rivers was stingy. Her Thanksgiving dinners were fondly recalled by her friends. Marjorie Stern, who founded the children’s charity A Time for Children, remembered Joan as “the most marvelous hostess,” always worrying about the comfort of her guests.

Celebrity event designer Preston Bailey had a lovely comment about Rivers’ generous nature.

“Joan was one of the most giving people I have ever met and that alone made her a standout host. Not only would she create a beautiful environment, but she made every guest feel like a VIP.”

Giving To Those Less Fortunate Than Herself

Not only was Joan an excellent hostess to those seated around her massive 40-foot dining room table, but she also reached out to those much less fortunate than herself. Every Thanksgiving, through the charity God’s Love We Deliver, Joan Rivers would head out to deliver meals to those who were unable to get out of the house.

Friend and neighbor Aileen Mehle stressed River’s generosity.

“Everything she touched turned into something lovely. One of the things she did on Thanksgiving was deliver meals to people who were housebound. She did this through the charity, God’s Love We Deliver. She would deliver these meals before she gave her own party. She was a divine creature.”

Marjorie Stern has similar memories of her good friend. “She was warm, friendly, generous and always ready to laugh. When fans complimented her and said she was gorgeous, her reply was always, ‘Yeah, yeah — you need glasses.'”

Never one to put herself upon a pedestal above others, she seemed to actually enjoy making fun of herself. Her extensive plastic surgery was always a favorite topic. In the following video, Joan Rivers turns a normal commercial into a hilarious skit as she pokes fun at herself.

A Woman Of God

Joan liked to talk about God. Or rather, joke about herself and God. No mention was made of her generosity with friends and strangers. That part of Joan Rivers’ life was private. Still, talk about God she did, in her own unique way. According to IMDb, a couple of her most popular lines included, “I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor,” and, in a Twitter tweet from 2010, “With all the plastic surgery I’ve had, I’m worried that when I die, God won’t recognize me!”

While the world loved Joan Rivers for her hilarious persona and cheerful sarcasm, her family and friends knew the true Joan Rivers. She was a woman who lived well, loved well, and was loved in return. Joan’s comedy may have made her famous, but her generosity and love for others made her great.

[Image credit: Lionel Cironneau/Associated Press]