Hugh Jackman, Whoopi Goldberg, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelly Osbourne were among the stars who mourned the death of legendary comedienne Joan Rivers at her funeral in New York on Sunday.
Record mogul Clive Davis, actors Matthew Broderick, Rosie O’Donnell, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth and Bernadette Peters, funnywoman Kathy Griffin, fashion designers Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors, property mogul Donald Trump and newswomen Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer also turned out to pay their final respects to Rivers, who was remembered in a private ceremony at the Temple Emanu-El synagogue, where she was a member.
Hundreds of fans lined the streets outside the temple as inside, shock-jock Howard Stern delivered a touching eulogy to the comedic icon, crediting her with fighting “the stereotype that women couldn’t be funny”.
He even managed to raise a few laughs from guests by quipping, “(Rivers was) the best friend in the world… a big sister… a crazy aunt at a bar mitzvah.”
Broadway star Audra McDonald performed Nat King Cole classic “Smile,” before additional tributes from news anchor Deborah Norville, New York Post columnist Cindy Adams and Rivers’ only child, daughter Melissa, who thanked everyone for their condolences, saying, “We are humbled.”
X-Men star Hugh Jackman helped to bring the ceremony to a close, honouring Rivers’ memory with a rendition of Peter Allen song, Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage, which features the repeated lyrics, “Put your hands together”, while a band of bagpipe players performed as mourners filed out of the temple.
Rivers died on Thursday, a week after suffering a cardiac and respiratory arrest during a routine throat operation.
The exact cause of death is still under investigation after an initial autopsy proved inconclusive.
The 81-year-old’s body had been cremated on Saturday, ahead of Sunday’s funeral service.
Reports suggest she will be laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, where fellow late icons Michael Jackson, Clark Gable and Walt Disney are also interred.
Rivers’ publicist has asked for donations to be made to her favourite charities, meal delivery service God’s Love, We Deliver, Guide Dogs for the Blind and California grief support centre Our House, in lieu of flowers.