Monday, January 23, 2017

An Interesting Read

"Last Girl Before Freeway - The Life, Loves, Losses and Liberation of Joan Rivers" by Leslie Bennett   Little, Brown and Co.   419 pages   $28

Interesting in that Bennetts has done a lot of work at Vanity Fair a magazine that adores the dirt and clearly she has learned well how to print the inside stories, back bites and claw scratches. Sample:  Kathy Griffith is just as despicable as I always thought she was - Day 1 of River's fatal coma, she was on the phone begging for River's job.

Since I read the "death of" parts of any biography first (but they do have to be actually dead) this is an approach that is admirable to certain audiences.  Hers was so fully covered that visitors were detailed practically down to what flowers they brought.

Rivers' husband killed himself - as presented here - as a result of being manic-depressive with lashings of guilt - he didn't feel that he had done all that he could of for her in the negotiations for one of her own TV shows and worse still he got into Barry Diller's face in front of witnesses.  Diller did not appreciate being attacked and had the power to do something about it.  So he fired them both.

What amazes me today is that Rosenberg's wife (Joan) and all of their good friends knew he was prone to suicidal thoughts and while they delivered all kinds of ultimations to make him get help, nevertheless under their noses he promised to check himself in.  During a visit to New York to see his oldest friend, he was quietly putting all of the couple's affairs into order.  He left audio tapes for Joan, their daughter Melissa and said best friend and overdosed on pills.  What amazes me is that none of these people got him taken away for observation (a 5150 in California) for being a danger to himself.  When one gets to the point of promising, "No! No! I'm not going to do anything" to worried loved ones - they're lying. 

After a decent period of time, Rivers began an affair with Orin Lehman as in Lehman Brothers, NYSE, although he never pursued working in the markets.  He had his own money and Rivers treated him to bespoke London tailors and summer yacht cruises on a rented ship.  He was a rather unlikely type gigolo in that he was 12 years older than she (60-something) and had to use canes to get around, having lost a leg in some previous fracas (which I'm too lazy to look up.)  They enjoyed a blissful eight years together before he dumped Rivers and took up with Monique Van Vooren  who to Rivers' fury was six years older than herself. 

A male actor/tranny who used to buy make-up at a transgender store was flabbergasted to learn that the shop's entire stock of face-lifting tape had been bought by ... Monique Van Vooren.

I felt a momentary pang at reading that ... if Rivers had had better sense or met Van Vooren socially,  she could have saved a fortune on plastic surgery. 

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