Melissa Rivers Gives First Public Tribute to Her Late Mother Joan Rivers (Full Video)

December 11, 2014

Melissa Rivers paid tribute to her late mother, Joan Rivers, at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women in Entertainment breakfast. In her first public appearance since her mother’s death, she gave a moving and emotionally powerful and yet humorous speech about the comedy legend who died at age 81 in September.

Aside from a taking part in a special tribute episode of ‘Fashion Police’ — the program which she and her late mother had hosted — Melissa Rivers had not spoken publicly about her mother. Certainly not before a live audience.

In the weeks and months since her mother’s untimely death, she has issued the occasional written statement. Some of the statements have been at times in response to the ongoing investigation in New York City into the circumstances of that still-shocking death after what should have been a routine throat procedure at an Upper East Side endoscopy clinic.

But in Los Angeles, among Hollywood’s A list, Melissa Rivers took to the stage and began in a lighthearted tone, saying, “I want to thank everyone for inviting me here this morning, and before we start, I’d like to point out that it is definitely a little intimidating to be in a room with the most beautiful, successful women in Hollywood. But Angelina, I just want you to know I’m really very normal and accessible.”

With deep poignancy she went on say “For me the last three months and six days — not that I’m counting — have been different to say the least.”

From there she went on to give an impassioned tribute of the legacy her mother has left behind, a legacy which, quite frankly, is only now being fully appreciated after her death.

Melissa Rivers said, “My mother was fearless. And I don’t mean she didn’t have any fears, I mean that even though she was only five-foot-two, she stood tall and walked through it. And that’s what made her such a brilliant performer. ”

She continued, saying of Joan Rivers, “She was willing to say what others were thinking and too frightened to admit. She made fun of herself first and foremost which gave her the right to joke about others. She never apologized for a joke, and no topic was taboo and she was fine with that. Truth be told, my mother never thought of herself as a woman working in a man’s world. She thought of herself as a comic that had to be funnier than anyone else…she just wanted to do her job and that was to make people laugh.”

And yes, that is what we will miss. The fearlessness and the courage to speak out, most especially era which is too often in the grips of political correctness.

With the humor that her mother would approve of — indeed expect — she went on to say, “If my mother were here this morning she would not only be grateful and proud but she would be beyond herself. She’d be sitting at the table, beaming. While very discreetly shoving croissants and silverware into her purse.”

And, concluding, “On behalf of my mother, thank you so, so much for this wonderful honor.”

The full video of Melissa Rivers’ moving tribute to Joan Rivers is below.

Pictures: PR Photos

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