Joan Rivers was not just a legendary comedian and Hollywood persona, she was also a savvy business woman who accumulated a massive net worth of over $150 million. She has left her entire fortune to her daughter, Melissa Rivers and her grandson Cooper. In addition, her will included special provisions for the care of her four pet dogs – two of which lived with her in New York and two that reside in California. By some reports, the two New York dogs, which were beloved by Rivers, will now be taken care of by her assistant, Jocelyn Pickett.
Joan Rivers died on Sept. 4, after she suffered complications from throat surgery. The surgery, which was a scheduled, routine endoscopy procedure, was performed at the Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic on Aug. 28. During the surgery, 81-year-old Rivers stopped breathing and had to be rushed to Mount Sinai where she ended up in a medically induced coma and on life support. Daughter Melissa made the decision to take her mother off life support on Sept 4, likely under the authority of an advance directive left by her mother that allowed her to make the end of life decision.
Currently the Yorkville clinic where the endoscopy was performed is under investigation by the New York State Department of Health. By some reports, an unscheduled biopsy on Rivers’ vocal cords performed by a second doctor may have caused her vocal cords “to seize” while she was under sedation and this may have been the cause of her respiratory arrest. The doctor who allegedly performed that procedure was known to Rivers but it has been reported that the comedian had not given permission for the additional procedure before undergoing sedation. In direct conflict with these reports however, is a statement provided to CNN by a clinic spokesperson, which specified, “A biopsy of the vocal cords has never been performed at Yorkville Endoscopy.”
Some in the media have expressed surprise that Rivers included her pets in her will. However, according to Rivers’ goddaughter, Tracie Hotchner, Rivers loved the dogs because they were her “touchstone to normalcy” and represented “genuine affection.” Hotchner wrote in a blog post that she understood how dogs often become “essential family members.” The two dogs that lived with Rivers in New York, Samantha and Teegan, were clearly very important to Rivers. They were with her in her private room at Mount Sinai Hospital before she died and allowed to be close to her.
Joan Rivers spent her entire adult life working as a comedian, a fashion critic, an icon in Hollywood and in the fashion business industry. In addition to her other assets, she had a lavish residence on the Upper East Side of Manhattan worth at least $35 million, and a hugely successful fashion business on the broadcast television and online shopping network QVC. Although Rivers experienced financial setbacks during her career, most notably after the suicide of her husband Edgar Rosenberg, the impressive estate she has left to her daughter, grandson and even her pets ensures their financial security. Joan Rivers has left behind not only a legacy of laughter for her fans and a deep love for her family; she has left behind a financial legacy as well.
By Alana Marie Burke