Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Joan Rivers' Husband: A Look at the Loss That Impacted the TV Host's Life

Christell Fatima M. Tudtud
Jun 08, 2022
07:10 A.M.
Share this pen

Late comedienne Joan Rivers had a long and successful Hollywood career, and she would have turned 89 on June 8, 2022. Despite her success, she endured a devastating loss when her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, died unexpectedly. Here's a look at River's unfathomable loss.


Joan Rivers, who passed away eight years ago, rose to prominence after appearing on "The Tonight Show." Her significant accomplishments include creating a Grammy-nominated comedy album and launching her daytime talk show.

Rivers was notorious for her outspoken and often contentious comedic style, especially when it came to famous people. When she wasn't making critical yet funny remarks about public figures, she'd make them about her late husband, Edgar Rosenberg.

Joan Rivers attends An Evening With Joan And Melissa Rivers at 92nd Street Y on January 22, 2014, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images



Rosenberg was Rivers's second husband. The TV star's husband was a German-born American film producer who worked on many of Rivers' projects in the entertainment industry.

Rivers and Rosenberg met on "The Tonight Show" when she fell in love with him. Rivers was going through a divorce with her first husband, James Sanger, at the time of her meeting with Rosenberg.

In 1955, Rivers had the six-month marriage annulled after Sanger admitted he didn't want to have children, something he hadn't told her until after they tied the knot.


Joan Rivers and Edgar Rosenberg attend "The Bounty" Westwood Screening at Coronet Theater in Westwood, California, on April 17, 1984. | Source: Getty Images

The acclaimed comedian married Rosenberg in 1965, a few days after they met and about a decade after her divorce. The "Joan Rivers Show" host lauded her second husband, adding they were a "good match."


The careers of the couple took off. Rosenberg successfully produced shows for his famous wife, while Rivers pursued acting and hosting.

Joan Rivers and Edgar Rosenberg pose for a portrait in 1987 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images


Rosenberg was the victim of Rivers' sarcastic stand-up acts. He seemed to have had no qualms about being burned by his wife's jokes. Rivers and her husband were close, according to friends.

Despite sharing a strong bond and a good match, the couple had their fair share of marital problems. Rivers admitted that she cheated and even left her husband many times.


In 1985, Rosenberg suffered a heart attack, which Rivers described as the most challenging time of her life. Rivers' husband had quadruple bypass surgery, which left him in poor physical and mental condition.

In 1987, Rosenberg was discovered dead in a hotel in Philadelphia, where he conducted a business trip. According to police, he died as a result of a valium overdose.

The famed film producer reportedly left a note and three recorded tapes for Rivers, the couple's only daughter Melissa, and his business manager. He also left Rivers with a $37 million debt.



Filled with unimaginable sadness, Rivers broke her silence on her husband's unexpected death, unsteadily attempting to explain something she herself cannot entirely comprehend.

She said her husband became "very depressed" since his heart attack, which took a toll on his mental health. The renowned entertainer even pondered ending her life following the death of her husband.

However, Rivers couldn't think about taking her own life because of her daughter, who she loved so much. Despite her husband's death and financial difficulties, Rivers was able to overcome her difficulties.



On September 14, 2014, Rivers passed away a week after visiting Yorkville Endoscopy Center in Manhattan, New York. Several celebrities, including actress Barbra Streisand, mourned the comedy star's death.

According to the medical examiner's report, the cause of death was "anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxia arrest." However, Rivers' daughter, Melissa, was not satisfied with the outcome of her mother's death.


Melissa filed a medical malpractice suit against the New York City clinic where the comedian died. After another round of medical examination, the result stated that Rivers' cause of death was "therapeutic complications" and stomach reflux.

In 2016, Rivers' family reached a settlement with the clinic. Melissa remarked that she could finally move on from the legal concerns surrounding her mother's death.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.