Love her or not, Joan Rivers was a study in contrasts, including the last two homes she lived in. I would like to share photos of them both. First, a bit about this lady. One thing that can be said of Joan is that she was a pioneer. I can tell you from some personal experience that having the fortitude to go for your dreams in a man’s world, takes courage, talent, moxie and determination, especially if you pursue those dreams against the strongest wishes of your parents. The daughter of a physician, Joan Rivers decided on giving comedy a try, even though at that time it was considered tantamount to being a stripper. In those days it just wasn’t a proper pursuit. Was she acerbic at times? Yup. In her own words: “I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.” What many of you may not know about Joan is that she graduated from Barnard College with a degree in English. She was not just a comedienne, but an astute businesswoman, actor and of late, fashion critic. She was also a mother and grandmother, her favorite roles. To be honest, I never followed her career very much after she left Johnny Carson except for fleeting moments of various clips from the entertainment world or a mention in the news. But of this, it can definitively be said. Joan Rivers was devoted to her employees, her friends, her daughter and her grandson. It has been said by many and often, that her grandson Cooper is one of the nicest kids ever. Says a lot about grounding a child despite wealth and celebrity. She was extremely generous and loyal to friends. She was also a huge dog lover. She had four dogs – the two in the photo below, and two more rescues in California….a Border Collie and a Boston Terrier. How she was with her animals says something of her character. In the photo below is Ms. River’s with her Pekingese Max on the left and her Havanese on the right. During an interview she said that “Dogs are easier to love than people; they’re certainly more dependable.” She kept urns of all her departed dogs (in her dressing room), and their memory still comforted her.
When her husband committed suicide, she herself contemplated it. However, her dog jumped onto her lap, sitting on the gun, and she said to herself that if she did do it, there would be no one to care for her dog. A devoted friend indeed. Apparently the funeral for Max, conducted by a friend, was full of humor, kind of like the funeral she wanted for herself. She felt Max deserved it, and the humor got her to move forward. Oh, I have a couple such stories myself… animal and human, and to this day I can still laugh through the tears. Humor has so often been my lifeline. Joan went out and got another dog, a Japanese Chin, this spring. That says a lot about her enduring sense of love of life and a personal philosophy to live it to the fullest each and every day. She had faith in her future. Was she hard on people…..she could be. Was she hard on herself. Absolutely. But she was also funny, intelligent, loyal, kind and caring. A memorable legacy for her daughter and grandson. She was another who made it possible for women to forge ahead in a man’s world, and we all need to remember and be grateful for the opportunities that so many women offered for succeeding generations. We don’t have to always choose to compete like she did, but it is nice to know we can. Apparently, the two NY dogs were allowed into the hospital and were with her when she died. Whatever your opinion, you have to admit she was one heck of a lady, and even if she wasn’t your cup of tea, you sure knew who she was. If I can be half as active and engaged in even half as many pursuits as she was at 81, WOW! I will have gone out like a rocket and not a dimming light.
So now let’s look at the contrasting styles of her two homes. The first is her New Milford, Connecticut home, which she sold a little more than a year ago for $4.4 million. It was 5,730 square feet, 10 rooms, four fireplaces and a pool. It sits on 75 beautiful acres of countryside and for years was her refuge from the intensity of show business. Modest by Hollywood standards. She found this piece of property and fell in love with it, but not the mid century modern house that stood on it. The home is a total reflection of her ideas at the time. She knew what she wanted and went about creating it with the help of friend Joe Cicio and architect Michael Boe of Boe Studio. source
Joan had wanted grass all the way up to the house in keeping with the land originally having been a farm. Cicio said that was their only disagreement when working on the house, and in the end he prevailed and she fell in love with the result. The walls are all built from stone from the property. In New England finding stone is never a problem!
Joan Rivers called NYC home, and this beautiful penthouse apartment is where she last lived. She had put it on the market first in 2009 and then withdrew it before placing it back on the market. Her intention was to move to California to be closer to her daughter Melissa and her grandson Cooper. Sadly, this was not to be. Her NYC home is grand, stylish, sophisticated and opulent. If ever there was any doubt that this was a woman of fine taste, this home should end any debate.
Constructed in 1910, the limestone mansion was built for John R. Drexel and his socialite wife Alice Troth Drexel. It’s the work of Horace Trumbauer, an architect well known for his classical revivalist aesthetic. The home was converted in the 1930s into apartments. According to previous listing information, one of the apartments in the building was home to Ernest Hemingway for many years. source
So, about the lesson…….best said in Joan’s own words:
Thank you as always for stopping by.