Barbara Walters, who had been friends with Joan Rivers for decades prior to her death, eulogized the late comedic legend in an essay released Friday.

Barbara Walters Remembers Joan Rivers

Walters, who retired from The View earlier this year, remembers meeting Rivers back when they were both starting out at NBC – Walters in broadcast journalism and Rivers in late night talk. “We met years ago at NBC and there may have even been a bit of competition between us in the beginning, but I loved being with her,” admitted Walters in an essay released to the New York Daily News. “She was wonderful company because it's rare when someone as public as Joan can be as open and honest about herself as she was.”

While Walters herself has been hailed as the woman who broke the glass ceiling in the world of serious broadcast journalism, Walters believes her friend should be remembered in much the same way for her trailblazing in the world of comedy. “I don't think she ever believed she was the star she wanted to be, but she was perennial and dependable,” writes Walters. “But make no mistake — she was a star. She was also a trailblazer who paved the way for female comics.”

When addressing Rivers' act, Walters doesn’t deny that the longtime standup comic could be crude, crass and unreservedly self-deprecating. “Her stage act was very raunchy. She would make fun of herself. Make fun of her looks. Make fun of her body and she would put herself down in order to win an audience's approval,” observed Walters. “Frankly she did almost anything for a laugh. Anything to get an applause. And boy did she make them roar.”


A week of entertainment news in your in-box.
We find the news you need to know, so you don't have to.

But though Rivers' act was undeniably raunchy and at times tacky, her real life was far more – as Walters puts it – elegant. “In her private life, she was very elegant,” reveals Rivers. “She was stylish and lived in a semi-private townhouse with beautiful furniture, antiques, china and glassware. If you went to her house, you would not think it belonged to brash comedienne Joan Rivers.”

In closing, Walters, who cites daughter Melissa Rivers as Rivers' crowning achievement, says, “She was a brassy, often outrageous, and hilarious performer who made millions laugh. In private, she was the picture of elegance and class. I will miss her and her love of life.”

Leave a comment

Read more about: