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Joan Rivers Gets a Star-Studded Farewell

Hugh Jackman and Audra McDonald helped the world say goodbye to the legendary comedian.

Joan Rivers in 2011.
(© David Gordon)

Joan Rivers wanted a star-studded funeral, and on September 7, that's exactly what she got.

The service at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper East Side didn't include Meryl Streep weeping in five different accents or Bobby Vinton singing "Mr. Lonely," but her service was a show-biz affair through and through, down to the red carpet lining 65th Street and the throngs of paparazzi lining the block.

Audra McDonald — who's getting ready to finish her run as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, the show that earned her a sixth, record-breaking Tony — sang "Smile." Hugh Jackman sang "Quiet Please, There's a Lady On Stage," a Peter Allen song included in the musical The Boy From Oz, the show that netted him his Tony. The New York City Gay Men's Chorus performed showtunes like "Big Spender" and "There Is Nothing Like a Dame." The New York Police Department's Emerald Society ended the ceremony, marching down the aisles playing "New York, New York" on drums and bagpipes. Howard Stern delivered the eulogy.

Rivers died Thursday, September 4, at the age of 81 after going into cardiac and respiratory arrest during a procedure at an endoscopy clinic on August 28. The legendary comedian was cremated before her funeral.

The program from Joan Rivers' funeral.
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