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Joan Rivers Spoke With Her Husband the Day Before He Was Found Lifeless With Tapes for Wife & Daughter

Joe Akins
Feb 11, 2022
05:00 P.M.

After being married for 22 years, Joan Rivers lost her husband in a terrible way. However, he left three tapes explaining his decision to commit suicide.


Before her demise, American Comedian, Actress, Writer, and Producer Joan Rivers enjoyed a prolific career in the entertainment industry. She was famous for her controversial comedic persona and received several accolades and honors for her achievements in Hollywood.

The movie star started small in the 1950s, performing stand-up comedy in nightclubs. However, in 1965, her career skyrocketed when she appeared as a guest on "The Tonight Show."

Joan Rivers and husband Edgar Rosenberg at an event [left]. Joan Rivers during "The Bounty" Westwood Screening at Coronet Theater in Westwood, [right]. | Photo: Getty Images

Joan Rivers and husband Edgar Rosenberg at an event [left]. Joan Rivers during "The Bounty" Westwood Screening at Coronet Theater in Westwood, [right]. | Photo: Getty Images


By 1986, Rivers had started her show, "The Late Show With Joan Rivers," and became a permanent guest host on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.


Although Rivers' career was at its peak, her life away from the spotlight was not a series of laughter and joy. She went through challenging situations, including divorce and the death of a spouse. Let's look at the life of Joan Rivers and her challenge-filled personal life.

In the entirety of her lifetime, Rivers tied the knot twice. Her first marriage in 1955 was to James Sanger, the son of Bond stores merchandiser.

Joan Rivers onstage during Comedy Central's "Roast of Joan Rivers," July 2009 | Source: Getty Images

Joan Rivers onstage during Comedy Central's "Roast of Joan Rivers," July 2009 | Source: Getty Images

Although the pair were in love when they walked down the aisle, their union was short-lived. They called it quits six months after their marriage. Following her divorce from Sanger, the actress found love again in the arms of German Film Producer Edgar Rosenberg.


The duo met in New York in 1965, during Rivers' debut on "The Tonight Show." At the time, the comedian worked as a writer, and Rosenberg needed the services. He and his friend, Peter Sellers, had a movie in the works and needed to rewrite the screenplay.

So, he hired Rivers without hesitation, and not long after, Edgar Rosenberg flew her to Jamaica to work on the screenplay. While the writer focused on rewriting the script, Edgar's personality and status caught her attention.


He was a Cambridge graduate, loved reading books, moved with elegance, was a master in show business, and was the son of legendary Public Relations Officer Anna Rosenberg.

These attributes only made it easier for Rivers to begin a relationship with her late husband. The mother of one revealed that she and Edgar were a good match. She gave him warmth, and he gave her style.

In conclusion, they completed each other's gaps like "two pieces of a puzzle." The pair were so in love that they wasted no time getting married.



Rivers and Edgar were joined together by a judge in New York in 1965, only four days after they met. Edgar knew that Rivers was very talented and would go far in entertainment. Indeed, the actress attained immense fame with help and encouragement from her husband.

Together, the lovebirds worked hard and fought their way through difficulties to achieve greatness. Rather than focus on individual careers, Rivers and Edgar worked together to establish a legacy.


Two careers became one, and the pair treated it like a child needing nourishment. The couple shared the work. Rivers admitted that her husband brought the ideas, managed the business, and made important decisions while she did her part to push their career forward.

Soon, they went from performing in small clubs to headlining shows and doing acts in front of huge audiences.



Edgar and Rivers had a wonderful family life apart from having a booming career. They lived in New York and often hung out at Stage Deli, sharing sandwiches after Rivers' performances. Overall, the pair were happy and were perfect for each other.

They welcomed their only child, Melissa, in 1968. Today, Melissa is over 50 and has accomplished a lot in her career.

Melissa is an author, producer, entertainment journalist, Ivy League graduate, public speaker, and animal advocate. She is also a doting mom to one son, whom she lives with in Los Angeles.



Sadly, on August 14, 1997, Rosenberg passed away aged 62, from what was believed to be suicide. Security officers found his lifeless body in Room 425 of the Downtown Four Seasons Hotel.

He allegedly consumed an overdose of Valium and was pronounced dead by 11:45 am. Edgar's death left his wife of 22 years heartbroken. Rivers told the Los Angeles Times that she spoke to her husband the day before he died. She explained:

"I spoke to him the day before. He said he had finished his business and was coming home. He was indeed, on final business."


Although Edgar's death was unexpected, he made sure to leave a suicide note alongside three tapes for Melissa, Rivers, and his business partner, Thomas Pileggi.

Edgar explained that his terrible health condition made him feel like a burden to the people he cared for on the recordings earmarked for his wife and daughter. The man said he could not continue living that way, thus ending this life.

Not only did he leave a massive vacuum in the heart of his wife, but he also left a large debt. As a businessman, Edgar invested $37 million into a business, which collapsed after a man ran away with the funds. He died without paying and left Rivers in colossal debt.


Following Edgar's death, the actress experienced more difficulties as she and their daughter Melissa became estranged.

The latter blamed her mom for Edgar's death. She claimed that the actress was the reason Fox fired them from "The Late Night Show With Joan Rivers," which led to Edgar's depression and eventual suicide.

However, in 1994, the mother-daughter duo reunited while filming their made-for-TV movie "Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story."



After being faced with a series of unfortunate events, Rivers knew there was no way to go but up, and so she reinvented herself and came back stronger and better than ever, with an impressive career to match.

A few years after Edgar died, Rivers was given her daytime show, "The Joan Rivers Show." The program quickly became a hit, earning her a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 1990 and a nomination for several awards.

She also delved into retail, where she produced clothes, accessories, and jewelry, which later became a successful venture with over one billion dollars in sales.



Rivers passed away in 2014 at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she performed surgery on her vocal cords and went into cardiac arrest. She was 81.

She was survived by Melissa and her son, who were saddened by the unfortunate incident. Melissa told ET's Nancy O'Dell:

"No matter how prepared you are for it, you're not ready."


However, she had to stay strong for her 14-year-old son, who was heartbroken. Six years after Rivers' demise, Melissa reflected on her mom's legacy. The author said she thought of Rivers every morning and often got emotional whenever she remembered their time together.

However, Melissa said she had some items to remember her mother by, like a framed drawing, two silver cups, and her son's baby cup. Even though Rivers is dead, she will never be forgotten by her family and the world.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

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