Melissa Rivers remembered the final moments she spent with her mother, Joan, the comedic legend, after she was rushed to the hospital following a minor throat surgery at Yorkville Endoscopy in New York City last August. Rivers recalled the tragedy during a sit-down with “Today” co-host Matt Lauer, to air Monday.
"I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. It...it becomes very surreal,” Melissa, 47, said. “I'd gotten emails on the plane that she was already in a medically induced coma and they were dropping her body temperature, which I knew was bad because that is the protocol for catastrophic brain injury."
Melissa and Joan Rivers were the ultimate mother-daughter team, working together on the red carpet at major events and on the popular E! show “Fashion Police.” “Truth be told, my mother never thought of herself as a woman working in a man's world,” Melissa said at The Hollywood Reporter's 2014 Women in Entertainment breakfast in December, according to E! News. "She thought of herself as a comic that had to be funnier than anyone else...She just wanted to do her job, and that was to make people laugh."
Joan got plenty of laughs in the final leg of her career as host of “Fashion Police” Since Joan died, the show has come under fire for offensive comments co-host Giuliana Rancic made about Zendaya Coleman’s dreadlocks at the 2015 Oscars. The controversy led to longtime co-host Kelly Osbourne quitting the show, and Kathy Griffin, Joan’s replacement, departing the series after only a few months.
Melissa told People she hasn’t come to terms with her mother not being in her life, but she feels her spirit. “Everybody asks me, ‘Don’t you feel her presence?’ I do, but I don’t. She’ll leave me alone until I do something that really pisses her off, like cut bangs,” she shared.
The “Today” special with Melissa Rivers will air on NBC Monday.
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella