I LOVED EDGAR ROSENBERG DEEPLY. HE WAS A SPECTACULAR MAN.
HE WASN'T JUST JOAN RIVERS' HUSBAND, OR MELISSA'S FATHER.
HE WAS EDGAR ROSENBERG, THE MAN.
On August 14, 1987, 29 years ago, I was resting at Kim Novak's house in Carmel. My phone rang and I heard her husband telling me that Joan Rivers' husband had killed himself. I can't even describe what I felt. All I knew was that I had to get to Joan and Melissa.
Fortunately, I had a friend at United Airlines. Not only did he book a flight for me, but he met me at the airport and went with me. I was too upset to function. I went directly to Joan's home from the airport.
She was seated in the English-style library/den that I associated with Edgar. It was his hideaway. We looked at each other and barely spoke. A dark emotional fog filled the room.
I'm not going to go on and on with the entire story, because it's in my book that I'm writing. Some of the story you will be able to read in a biography on Joan by VANITY FAIR'S brilliant Leslie Bennetts. I spent a lot of time with her making sure she knew who Edgar really was.
Edgar was a brilliant, erudite, sophisticated gentleman. He had a sardonic wit, and many times was funnier than Joan. Most of his lines were delivered under his breath, so I always sat as close to him as I could. He was very successful before he met Joan, and because he loved her so much, he devoted more time to her career than to his. ANYONE WHO THINKS HE WAS SOME KIND OF HANGER-ON STOOGE IS AN IDIOT. Joan could make jokes about Edgar. Anyone else who does will have to talk to me.
Edgar and I had our own separate friendship. We would have dinners away from everyone, usually at Peppone's in Brentwood. I will treasure them forever.
When things were getting rough at Joan's late night Fox TV show, it took a toll on Edgar's health. He had heart issues, an ulcer, and gout toward the end of that show. One night, when I was at the show, I was so disturbed by his appearance that I pushed him into a back-stage bathroom and asked, "What's the matter with you? I'm really worried." He told me about his ailments and how he didn't feel well, and assured me the doctors were on it.
WHAT I DIDN'T KNOW AT THE TIME, WAS THAT HE WAS ON SO MUCH MEDICATION THAT IT COMBINED BADLY AND THREW HIM INTO A MEDICAL DEPRESSION. BACK THEN, DOCTORS DID NOT TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT WHAT WAS PRESCRIBED AND POSSIBLE INTERACTION PROBLEMS.
Weeks later, I was at Le Dome for lunch and I saw him at another table. He came over and said hello. But then he said, "I want you to promise me something. Promise me that if anything ever happens that you will watch out for Melissa."
"Of course," I answered, a little thrown, very touched, but not really thinking about the deeper meaning or the warning bells that should have gone off.
We all know the ending. And there will be more to come from me on my dear Edgar.