Hugh Jackman felt “honored” to perform at Joan Rivers’ funeral on Sunday after accepting the job almost a decade ago.
The X-Men star reveals the veteran comedienne, who often joked about dying in her stand-up routine, had made plans for her final farewell years before she passed away on September 4, and asked Jackman to be a part of her big send-off after watching him in 2003 Broadway musical The Boy from Oz.
The Australian actor stayed true to his word last weekend when he joined celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Whoopi Goldberg, Clive Davis, Kelly Osbourne and U.S. shock jock Howard Stern, who delivered the eulogy, at the Temple Emanu-El synagogue in New York to pay his final respects to Rivers, and he admits the song the funnywoman had chosen for him to sing was the perfect choice.
Jackman explains, “It was amazing. I must admit: I’ve been to several funerals, and I’ve always kind of felt for the person who has to sing. I’ve always said, ‘Oh, how do you do that?’
“At her funeral, when Joan Rivers asks you (to perform), just answer. She had planned everything out. She had seen me in a show called The Boy from Oz… and I sang a song from that. It was called, “Quiet Please, There’s A Lady On Stage”. It’s a beautiful celebration of a woman, and it was for her, and the entire audience in the synagogue got up and started clapping and cheering. The whole thing was very uplifting, very touching and moving, but funny.”
And there was another highlight for Jackman: “When the bagpipes came out at the end (of the service), everyone just started laughing… She was just an amazing woman. It was an appropriate send-off and I felt honored to be a part of it.”
Rivers, 81, died 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.