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Stars, Loved Ones Say Goodbye To Joan Rivers At Upper East Side Funeral

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Howard Stern delivered the eulogy, Broadway singer-actress Audra McDonald sang "Smile" and bagpipers played "New York, New York" at Joan Rivers' funeral Sunday, a star-studded send-off that -- like the late comedian herself -- brought together the worlds of Hollywood, theater, fashion and media.

At a funeral befitting a superstar, the New York City Gay Men's Chorus sang Broadway hits before six-time Tony Award-winner McDonald sang her tribute to Rivers, a champion of theater for decades. Tributes and reminiscences were delivered by TV anchor Deborah Norville, close friend Margie Stern, columnist Cindy Adams and Rivers' daughter, Melissa.

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"So sad to say goodbye to one of our friends, but (the service was) so joyful," Norville told 1010 WINS' Roger Stern. "Hugh Jackman had us on our feet clapping for Joan."

Hugh Jackman sang at the end, and bagpipers from the NYPD played on the streets as mourners filed out of Temple Emanu-El, many dabbing their eyes.

Stars, Loved Ones Say Goodbye To Joan Rivers At Upper East Side Funeral

The funeral program included a page with three classic Rivers' lines printed out: "Can we talk?" "Who are you wearing?" and "Because I'm a funny person."

In Lieu Of Flowers Donations Can Be Made To These Organizations: God's Love, We Deliver | Guide Dogs For The Blind | Our House

A legion of notables turned out to remember Rivers, who died Thursday at 81: comedians Kathy Griffin and Whoopi Goldberg; colleague and friend Kelly Osbourne; Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick; and celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.

Theater stars Bernadette Peters, Alan Cumming and Tommy Tune were there. Record producer Clive Davis was, too. Fashion designers Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors were in attendance. Stars from TV such as Barbara Walters, Geraldo Rivera, Diane Sawyer, Kathie Lee, Hoda Kotb and Andy Cohen. Late night band leader Paul Shaffer. And moguls Barry Diller, Donald Trump and Steve Forbes.

Stars, Loved Ones Say Goodbye To Joan Rivers At Upper East Side Funeral

Howard Stern's eulogy, however, seemed to be the most memorable moment. Those in attendance described it as raucous and uncensored.

"Just the way she would've wanted it," her former security guard Louie told WCBS 880's Jim Smith. "Very, very glitzy.  True to Joan Rivers standards."

"I don't think Temple Emanu-El has ever heard anything like it," said former New York politican Andrew Stein. "Howard Stern was very naughty, but very funny. ... I can't repeat on the air what he said."

Celebrities Offered Their Condolences And Shared Memories Via Twitter On Sunday

Mourners lined up outside the Fifth Avenue synagogue and waited for their names to be checked against a list before entering. As WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported, across the street from Temple Emanu-El was a large contingent of fans that nearly filled up an entire city block. Fans from as far away as Australia and England also lined the streets.

The comedian detailed in her 2012 book "I Hate Everyone --- Starting With Me" that she hoped for "a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action" and "Hollywood all the way." Instead of a rabbi talking, Rivers asked for "Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents" and "a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyonce's." Indeed, her wishes were so important they were printed in the funeral program.

Joan Rivers Funeral
Fans and media line up across the street from the private funeral for Joan Rivers on Sept. 7, 2014, at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper East Side. (credit: Jim Smith/WCBS 880)

Rivers was a trailblazer for all comics, but especially for women. The raspy-voiced blonde with the brash New York accent was a TV talk show host, stage, film and TV actress, fashion critic, and she sold a line of jewelry.

The cause of death is being investigated. Rivers was hospitalized on Aug. 28 after she went into cardiac arrest during a routine throat procedure at a doctor's office. The New York state health department is investigating the circumstances, and the New York City medical examiner said tests to determine the cause of death were inconclusive.

Her publicist said that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to God's Love, We Deliver; Guide Dogs for the Blind; or Our House.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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