September 29, 2014

Joan Rivers biography coming in 2016


Joan Rivers (Via Wikimedia)

Joan Rivers (Via Wikimedia)

Little, Brown and Company announced last week that it had acquired the rights to a biography of comedian Joan Rivers. Ashley Lee writes for the Hollywood Reporter that the bio will be titled Joan Rivers: A Life.

Following the death of the prolific stand-up comedian/talk show host/actress on September 4, sales of her two books skyrocketed; her recent Diary of a Mad Diva jumped some 70,000% on Amazon, and her 2012 book I Hate Everyone…Starting with Me went up about 17,000%. Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake and frequent writer for Vanity Fair and the New York Times, is writing the new biography.

Bennetts said in a statement:

Joan Rivers’ life story was, in every way, a remarkably dramatic roller-coaster ride characterized by triumphant highs and devastating lows, one that is both wildly entertaining and deeply moving… But Rivers’ career was also enormously significant in American cultural history, breaking down barriers for women in television and comedy and continually redefining the acceptable boundaries of truth-telling for women in public life. It’s hard to imagine a more compelling subject for a book — or one that would be more fun.

This isn’t the first time that Rivers’s life has been chronicled in some form. In 1994, she and daughter Melissa starred in Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers story, a made-for-TV movie about their relationship and struggles in the wake of the suicide of Rivers’s husband, Edgar Rosenberg (which is every bit as over-the-top as you’d expect). More seriously, Rivers was the subject of a documentary by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg in 2010 — Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work — which follows her for a year, documenting her relentless work ethic, not to mention the actual card catalog full of jokes that she kept:

Joan Rivers: A Life will be published in 2016, and also available as an audiobook and ebook.


Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.