This story was updated at 12:50 p.m.
Friends, family and fans gathered to pay respects to comedienne Joan Rivers on Sunday at the Temple Emanu-El in New York City.
Actors, journalists and other celebrities such as Kathy Griffin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathie Lee Gifford, Barbara Walters, Donald Trump and Howard Stern were spotted arriving at the private ceremony, according to reports from USA Today and WABC New York.
Crowds of fans and media began gathering as early as 10 a.m. in Manhattan's Upper East Side, where police had baricaded the streets, according to the Associated Press.
Rivers, 81, had outlined plans for her funeral in her 2012 book, “I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me,” that included “a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action,” including “Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents.” While the actual event was reportedly set to include a red carpet, it was also planned as a private affair.
USA Today reported that police told the groups of roughly 100 spectators and about 100 members of the media to keep the area clear, and asked that lights be turned off.
The actress and comedian died on Thursday afternoon at Mt. Sinai Hospital after suffering complications from a surgery on her throat, and had been in the hospital since Aug. 28.
“My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh,” her daughter, Melissa Rivers, said in a statement responding to her mother’s death. “Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.” Yesterday, she kissed her mother’s casket before it was sent to a crematorium to prepare for Sunday’s funeral, according to a report in the New York Post.
Her funeral may be private, but celebrities around the world have been paying their respects through public statements and social media.
“For decades Joan has made people laugh, shattered glass ceilings and revolutionized comedy,” E! and NBCUniversal said in a Thursday statement. The network aired “Fashion Police,” which Rivers often hosted. “She was unapologetic and fiercely dedicated to entertaining all of us and has left an indelible mark on the people that worked with her and on her legions of fans. She’s been a much beloved member of the E! family for over 20 years and the world is less funny without her in it. Today our hearts are heavy knowing Joan will not be bounding through the doors.”
“Joan was ageless. She went out buzzing,” wrote comedy writer and performer Julie Klausner in on Vulture. “Instead of rotating in one of those tired phrases you’re adorned with moments before you’re buried, I’ll just call her a goddess, a mensch, and a friend. I will miss her terribly.”
Comedian Louis C.K. said in a statement, “I feel very lucky that I knew Joan Rivers and I feel very sad that she’s gone. She was a great comedian and an wonderful person. I never saw someone attack a stage with so much energy. She was a controlled lightning bolt. She was a prolific and unpredictable, joyful joke writer. She loved comedy. She loved the audience. She was a great actress and should have done that more. She loved living and working. She was kind. She was real. She was brave. She was funny and you just wanted to be around her. I looked up to her. I learned from her. I loved her. I liked her. And I already miss her very much.”
David Letterman also paid tribute to the legendary comedian: “Here’s a woman, a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy. And talk about guts -- she would come out here and sit in this chair and say some things that were unbelievable, just where you would have to swallow pretty hard… but it was hilarious...the force of her comedy was overpowering.”
Celebrities have also taken to Twitter to show their respects.
My friend Joan Rivers has passed away once again to quote Billy Crystal... There are no words. Bon Voyage Joan
â€” Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) September 4, 2014
â€” Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) September 4, 2014
That being said, Joan is gone but a piece of her lives on: her nose, because it's made of polyurethane.
â€” Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) September 4, 2014
RIP Joan Rivers. Being publicly told that my dress is hideous will never feel quite as awesome. You will be truly missed.
â€” Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) September 4, 2014
Joan Rivers has died. What a sad ending to a brilliant and tragi-comic life; one of the bravest, and funniest of all.
â€” Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) September 4, 2014
Joan Rivers will always be a pioneer. She paved the way for a lot of comedians. I’m very sad she’s gone. pic.twitter.com/i1uE9fyHMh
â€” Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) September 4, 2014
RIP GODDESS: Hail Hail, a GENIUS has vacated this realm: Joan Rivers has died.
â€” Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) September 4, 2014