It’s been two years since Joan Rivers passed away, and while most of us have gotten on with the business of living and even of mourning more recent tragic deaths, Melissa Rivers has been dealing with the passing of her mother. For Melissa, part of coping with Joan’s loss has included deciding what to do with the treasure trove of possessions the elder Rivers left behind, and while Melissa says her first inclination had been to hold on to everything for herself, Ms. Rivers ultimately decided to share Joan’s legacy with fans.
Fashion Police Producer Melissa Rivers Auctions Off The Remnants Of Her Mother’s Life
“She was always adamant that even your finest things should be used and loved and not just in the bank vault or storage,” Melissa Rivers says of her decision to auction off much of the personal belongings of her late mother.
Rivers reveals that the decision to auction off her mother’s possessions has turned out to be a massive undertaking, because the collection of items encompasses everything from jewelry to furniture to floor-length gowns. The Joan Rivers collection will be auctioned off by Christie’s in New York City from June 16 through June 23 and while details haven’t been given, Rivers says some proceeds from the auction will be donated to charity.
Melissa says she hesitated in going through her mother’s things, but, as time passed, she found herself weeding through the items left behind by Joan until she ultimately decided it was better to make them available to others who might better appreciate and enjoy them. While most of the things Joan Rivers left behind have found their way to Christie’s, hand-picked by Melissa herself, the Fashion Police producer says there were some items she couldn’t bear to part with. Among the more cherished items were heirlooms, artwork, and the “good dishes,” but Ms. Rivers says there were some things not quite as desirable but that were kept for more sentimental reasons.
“I kept her toothbrush cup. I kept the stuff from her night table. I kept the stuff from the side of her bathtub. I kept strange things like that,” Melissa Rivers says.
Melissa Rivers To Host A Joan Rivers Tribute
The Kennedy Center is hosting the first ever District of Comedy Festival, which will feature guest appearances by such comic legends as Judd Apatow, Jane Lynch, Jay Pharaoh, Dick Gregory, and Reggie Watts, but the event won’t be all laughs and giggles. There will be a special segment, a tribute to the late Joan Rivers, produced and hosted by Melissa. Ms. Rivers has recruited Louie Anderson, Bob Saget, Dick Cavett, and Margaret Cho to participate in the tribute, which Melissa reveals was first suggested by organizers of the festival.
“The funny thing is, my mother always wanted a Kennedy Center Honor — like, the big one — and she never got one,” reveals Melissa Rivers. “She was nominated a few times, but she never actually got one. So obviously this is about as close as we’re going to get. I think we’ll definitely have my mother’s voice resonating through it.”
Much like the auction, Melissa reveals that organizing the tribute has also been a massive undertaking, just because Joan Rivers left behind such an extensive legacy. Her daughter says that it has taken considerable time to comb through the archives and decide what should be included and what is best left omitted from the tribute, though, ideally, everything would be showcased.
Ms. Rivers adds that, while organizing both an auction and a tribute at the same time has been exhaustive, she feels that the tribute has helped her to better cope with auctioning off her mother’s belongings, because that just feels like an added loss.
“I think the Christie’s sale is difficult for me. It’s another goodbye,” says Melissa. “The fact that we’re celebrating at the Kennedy Center will emotionally be very helpful. Grief is a process. It’s the old saying — my mom used to say “cliches are cliches for a reason: death and taxes!”
[Image by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for QVC]