Melissa Rivers gave a moving tribute to her mom, Joan Rivers, at Sunday’s Daytime Emmy Awards Ceremony, just eight months after the iconic comedian lost her life during routine throat surgery at the age of 81.
Joan Rivers won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1990 and a clip of her acceptance speech was aired at the Emmy ceremony Sunday. Following the clip, Melissa Rivers took to the stage to remember her mother in a touching speech.
“After some terrible lows in my mom’s life, both personally and professionally, the cancellation of her late-night talk show and the unimaginable loss of my dad would’ve probably been more than most people could bear,” Melissa began, referring to Edgar Rosenberg’s 1987 suicide. “But not my mother. She refused to give up. And the daytime television community saved her.”
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Joan famously struggled after her late night show was canceled after just one season. It took two years before she would return for the highly successful The Joan Rivers Show.
“It ran for five years, and brought her the only Emmy she would ever win,” Melissa shared. “This strong foundation reinvigorated her career, and my mother felt loved and valued by the daytime community, and for that I will always be grateful.”
Joan Rivers mentioned those difficult times in the clip of her 1990 Emmy win shown Sunday.
“Two years ago, I couldn’t get a job in this business. I could not get a job,” she said at the time. “My income dropped to one-sixteenth of what it was before I was fired. And people said I wouldn’t work again. And my husband, as you know, had a breakdown.”
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Tearfully, she continued: “It’s so sad that he’s not here, because it was husband, Edgar Rosenberg, who always said, ‘You can turn things around.’ And except for one terrible moment in a hotel room in Philadelphia when he forget that, this is really for him. Because he was with me from the beginning, and I’m so sorry he’s not here.”
Melissa Rivers said her mother enjoyed more success than any one could have imagined after some very trying years.
“She went on to have 24 more fabulous years,” Melissa said Sunday, “and I got to enjoy all of them with her, as her producer, her business partner, her costar, and the best part was as her daughter.”
What did you think of Melissa Rivers’ speech?