Speaking at The Hollywood Reporter‘s 2014 Women in Entertainment breakfast, Melissa kept the spirit of Joan alive by talking in a humorous tone about her mom and her life tribulations. But, although she chose to keep the mood light, the void Joan left behind for her and the rest of the world was also quite evident.
At one point, Melissa pointed out that she recently realized how fearless her mom really was when Amy Schumer made a speech about the iconic funny woman a few weeks ago, calling her “brave.” “But when I look back at her life [now], I think that might actually be the best word that applies to her.”
Known for her relentless truth-telling about other celebrities’ fashion choices, Joan really did have to be brave in a place like Hollywood, where one can be ostracized a minute after making “the wrong comment.” But, Melissa also revealed that Joan always wanted to be part of Tinseltown, even as a little girl.
“At 8, she went into her parents’ living room and took a picture off of the piano and sent it to MGM,” Melissa said in her speech. “In her mind, this little girl was clearly a star so she sent the photo, frame and all.” And while the movie giant never responded, and she riled her “formidable” grandmother for sending off a $50 frame, Joan did eventually reach her goal of becoming famous.
Despite the hardships and obstacles that come with a show business career, Joan fiercely conquered them and was successfully able to shine. “My mother was fearless, and I don’t mean she didn’t have any fears. I mean that although she was only 5’2″, she stood tall and walked through them. That is what made her such a brilliant performer.”
Melissa finished her speech by adding that Joan would have loved to be at Wednesday’s event and would probably be the one “discreetly shoving croissants and silverware into her purse.” But, she said that her dearly missed mother would also “not only be grateful and proud, she’d be beyond herself.”
You can watch the video below to see Melissa Rivers’ full speech.