By her own admission, Joan Rivers was a workaholic, and the octogenarian continued earning up until the day she died. Now the legendary comedian’s sizable estate must be divided.
The New York Daily News reports that the Fashion Police co-host was worth an estimated $150 million at the time of her death earlier this month and, as expected, the bulk of that will go to her only daughter, Melissa, and beloved grandson, Cooper. However, in her will, she also provided for her four dogs, which will move from Joan’s opulent Upper East Side Manhattan condo to the home of one of her personal assistants, Jocelyn Pickett. (A spokesperson for Rivers has not yet responded to Yahoo’s request for comment on the will.)
“Those dogs are her family,” a source told the paper of the animals, which visited Joan in the hospital during her final days. That’s an understatement. Rivers actually credited one of her pets, a Yorkie named Spike, for saving her life when she contemplated suicide in 1988, months after her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, took his life. “What saved me was my dog jumped into my lap. I thought, ‘No one will take care of him,'” she told the Daily Beast in July. “It wasn’t a friendly dog — only to me. I adored this dog. … I had the gun in my lap, and the dog sat on the gun.”
In the same interview, Joan said she “constantly” thought about her own death and noted that she had plans in place, including for her cherished canines.
“In your 80s, you’d be foolish not to think about that,” she told the website. “I’ve left money so the dogs can be taken care of. I’ve said to Melissa, ‘Sell anything and everything you don’t want. Don’t feel beholden to my possessions.’ I feel almost hysterical on that. I don’t want them to have a sense of guilt.”
According to the New York Daily News, Melissa, who is based on the West Coast, already has plans to sell Joan’s palatial $35 million condo. That’s no surprise as Joan herself put it on the market several times since 2005 — mostly recently in 2012.
“This is how Marie Antoinette would have lived if she had money,” the funny woman said her 2010 documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, while standing in the 5,200-square-foot multi-level, classically adorned penthouse, which features floor-to-ceiling windows, wood-burning fireplaces, two terraces, a mezzanine overlooking the front parlor, and French-inspired style which was “painstakingly restored by museum-trained artisans,” according to its 2009 listing. The movie also featured a scene in which Joan was hosting a dinner party for about 20 in her dining room with three waiters running around serving the guests.
Joan was a fixture in the building and served as president of the condo board. “I’m very much an A personality,” she told the New York Times in 2012. “I got involved just because I wanted things done right.” As for why she became president, she said, “I care about the building. And I think that’s why they just keep letting me be president of the board.” Also, she quipped, “No one wants the job.”
The New York Daily News reports that Melissa had her own apartment in the building, purchased by her mom, and also plans to sell that. “Melissa is based in L.A. and has no need for a place in New York any more,” a source told the newspaper. “It’s also too painful; Joan loved the city so much.”
While the article notes that Melissa is also selling Joan’s “amazing home in Connecticut,” the 5,730-square-foot house in Litchfield County, Connecticut, actually sold last year for $4.4 million. That home was described as her “sanctuary from show business” and was set on 75 acres and featured 10 rooms, four fireplaces, and a custom swimming pool.
Despite it being her sanctuary from showbiz, Joan wasn’t ready to give up her career. (Around her 80th birthday, an interviewer asked if she was ready to retire and she quipped, “And do what?”) In addition to Fashion Police, the blonde appeared on WEtv’s Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?, and reportedly had a new show in the works with Bravo’s Andy Cohen. She continued to do stand-up as well.
On Tuesday, Melissa spoke out for the first time since her mother’s passing.
As my son Cooper and I mourn the loss of my mother, we want to thank everyone for the beautiful cards and flowers conveying heartfelt messages and condolences, which continue to arrive from around the world and through social media
She wrote on WhoSay.
My mother would have been overwhelmed by the scope and depth of the love that people have expressed for her. It is certainly helping to lift our spirits during this time.
Melissa continued, “We are forever grateful for your kindness and support in continuing to honor my mother’s legacy, and for remembering the joy and laughter that she brought to so many.”
On Friday, E!, which was home to Fashion Police, will hold “Joan Day” in which they’ll have a 12-hour marathon of Rivers’s jokes about bad celebrity fashion. The last episode of the show that she taped will be rebroadcast, and the marathon will also include Melissa’s stories about her mother.
Rivers died on Sept. 4 after being removed from life support. A week earlier, she underwent a routine procedure on her throat at Yorkville Endoscopy in Manhattan. An investigation is being made into her death. So far, the gastroenterologist who performed the procedure has been fired from the clinic. A second physician was present during the surgery without authorization from the clinic. The woman allegedly took a selfie with Rivers during the surgery.