On the morning of August 28 as I was getting ready for work, Joan Rivers inexplicably popped into my mind. For some reason, I began wondering what the world—and QVC—would be like without the inimitable Joan. It wasn’t until an hour or so later while driving to work that I heard the news that Joan had been admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital after undergoing an endoscopy in a Manhattan clinic.
Like the rest of the world, Joan was in my thoughts during the following week as news continued to come in about her condition. Just when it sounded like she was improving, her daughter, Melissa, announced Joan’s passing on September 4. I immediately began thinking of all the times Joan touched my life since I started working at QVC 16 years ago. As editor/writer for QVC’s program guides and InsideQ magazine, I had many opportunities to work with Joan and her incredible New York team at Joan Rivers Worldwide. And whenever I saw Joan in old movie or TV show (like The Swimmer with Burt Lancaster or an episode of Here’s Lucy), I emailed her office to let them know how much I enjoyed it.
Joan was a trouper in the true sense of the word. If I needed a photo, quote, or interview, all I had to do was pick up the phone and call her New York office. She never hesitated to contribute what was needed so that her customers got the very best. As QVC President and CEO Mike George said, “She has been a special part of our QVC family for 24 years, and we knew Joan not only as an extraordinary comedian, writer, producer, and business leader, but as a generous and caring spirit, who inspired us to be better every day. Joan truly loved her customers, and delighted in bringing joy and inspiration to their lives over these last many years.”
One of the first projects I worked on for Joan was when she brought hers and Melissa’s Faberge collection to QVC Studio Park in 1999.
There were many beautiful pieces in this collection, including jewelry, boxes, and a silver-gilt tea and coffee set. Joan and Melissa generously lent this collection to QVC so that her customers could come to West Chester, Pennsylvania, and experience it firsthand. It was a self-guided tour, and my job was to write the script Joan would record to describe the pieces. Joan also recreated some of these pieces for her QVC customers, and I purchased the enamel trinket box shown in the poster above (which still decorates my office) and this set of miniature Faberge-inspired eggs.
Here is a sampling of the Insider/InsideQ magazine and program guides Joan graced throughout the years. Though QVC no longer publishes weekly and monthly program guides, I saved these and I’m happy to share them with you.
Above: Insider and InsideQ magazines from 2003, 2004, and 2010.
Above: Insider and InsideQ magazines from 2010 and 2013.
Above: Weekly and monthly program guides from 2010, 2001, and 2009.
Here are some of the witticisms and words of wisdom Joan shared throughout the years in these publications:
“I felt that Melissa and I were a team the moment she was born. She made her entrance into the world exactly 24 hours after I finished my second show and left the stage at New York’s Upstairs at the Downstairs. Talk about great mother-daughter timing. Melissa and I had it right from the start.” –2004
“After my husband died, Melissa and I fashioned a precious philosophy together: passing through life, with its good times and bad, was like acting in an adventure movie with both its highs and lows. We decided we were the stars of that movie and so we had the power to give it a happy ending.” –2004
“Spending time with my daughter, Melissa, and my grandson, Cooper, makes me the happiest.” –2007
“I was conceived in a Faberge egg; my umbilical cord was from Cartier. Jewelry is in my DNA.” –2009
“Believe in yourself…believe in your product…and never, ever settle for anything but the best! Other than that, marry rich and do what you want.” –2009
“I’ve always worked out of emotion. It’s gotten me through life.” –2009
“If I wasn’t a performer, I think I’d be politician because I love meeting and interacting with people. I hate the term, but I’m very much a ‘people person.’” –2010
“I am your basic, traditional holiday cook. I don’t want exotic on the holidays. Give me a nice ham or turkey with all the traditional fixings—cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top—topped off with pecan and pumpkin pies.” –2005
And since the holidays are upon us, here is Joan’s recipe for Sauce a l’Orange that she shared in 2005:
1 16-oz bag cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 cup orange juice (preferably fresh)
2 tsp grated orange grind
¼ to ½ cup blanched slivered almonds
- Wash cranberries. Combine all ingredients, except almonds, in a saucepan. Cook on a low flame until the cranberries pop open (about 8 minutes).
- Skim the foam form the surface. Let stand for 3 minutes. Sprinkle almonds on top and chill before serving.
A customer recently wrote to me and said “Always will fondly remember [former program host] Kathy Levine sitting with Joan Rivers in her Malibu living room presenting jewelry with the help of some of Joan’s dogs. There are so many memories that make me smile.”
If you’d like to share memories of Joan that make you smile, please send them to me atQVCInsider@QVC.com and I’ll post it in a future blog.