Joan Rivers Remembered: Read Daughter Melissa's Funny Eulogy in Full

Melissa Rivers Landlord - H 2014
Rick Rowell/ABC via Getty Images

Melissa Rivers Landlord - H 2014

Being Joan Rivers' daughter couldn't have been easy, but being her "landlord" sounds worse

This story first appeared in the Sept. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Joan Rivers once wrote that she wanted a Hollywood-style funeral, with Meryl Streep crying in five different accents and a toe-tag designed by Harry Winston. She came close. The service, held at Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue and 65th Street on Sept. 7, was indeed a red-carpeted, star-studded affair — Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Clive Davis, Diane Sawyer and a slew of other luminaries filed past the paparazzi and into the temple to bid Rivers goodbye. Howard Stern, Cindy Adams and Deborah Norville delivered three of the eulogies, and at one point, Hugh Jackman sang Peter Allen's "Quiet Please, There's a Lady on Stage."

But if Rivers' funeral was a "show," the high point must have been the eulogy delivered by her daughter, Melissa, 46, who stood before the crowd and read an excerpt from A Letter to My Mom, a collection of letters by celebrities that will be published in April by Crown Archetype. In recent years, Joan had been staying in a room at Melissa's L.A. residence when, once a week, she flew in from New York to tape E!'s Fashion Police. Apparently — according to correspondence Melissa wrote before Joan died and read at her mother's funeral, printed in its entirety below — Joan had some issues with the accommodations.


I received the note that you slipped under my bedroom door last night. I was very excited to read it, thinking that it would contain amazing, loving advice that you wanted to share with me. Imagine my surprise when I opened it and saw that it began with the salutation, "Dear Landlord." I have reviewed your complaints and address them below:

1. While I appreciate your desire to "upgrade" your accommodations to a larger space, I cannot, in good conscience, move [my 13-year-old son] Cooper into the laundry room. I do agree that it will teach him a life lesson about fluffing and folding, but since I don't foresee him having a future in dry cleaning, I must say no.

Also, I know you are a true creative genius (and I am in awe of the depth of your instincts), but breaking down a wall without my permission is not an appropriate way to express that creativity. It is not only a boundary violation but a building-code violation as well. Additionally, the repairman can't get here until next week, so your expansion plan will have to be put on hold.

2. Re: Your fellow "tenant" (your word), Cooper. While I trust you with him, it is not OK for you to undermine my rules. It is not OK that you let him have chips and ice cream for dinner. It is not OK that you let him skip school to go to the movies. And it is really not OK that the movie was Last Tango in Paris.

As for your taking his friends to a "gentlemen's club," I accepted your rationale that it was an educational experience for the boys — and you are right, he is the most popular kid in school right now — but I'd prefer he not learn biology from those "gentlemen" and their ladies, Bambi, Trixie and Kitten. And just because I yelled at you, I do not appreciate your claim that I have created a hostile living environment.

3. While I'm glad to see you're socializing, you must refill the hot tub after your parties. In fact, you need to tone down the parties altogether. Imagine my surprise when I saw the photos you posted on Facebook of your friends frolicking topless in the hot tub.

I think it's great that you're entertaining more often, but I can't keep fielding complaints from the neighbors about your noisy party games like Ring Around the Walker or naked Duck, Duck Caregiver.

I'm more than happy to have you use the house for social gatherings, but you cannot rent it out, advertise as "party central" or hand out T-shirts that say "F— Jimmy Buffett."

In closing, I hope I have satisfactorily answered your complaints and queries. I love having you live with me, and I am grateful for every minute Cooper and I have with you. You are an inspiration. You are also 30 days late with the rent.

Much love,