Watch CBS News

Broadway Lights Won't Go Dark For Joan Rivers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The lights of the Great White Way will not go dark for Joan Rivers, the Broadway League said Monday.

Rivers died last Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital at the age of 81, a week after going into cardiac arrest during a routine vocal cord procedure at an Upper East Side clinic.

The Broadway League, which represents theater owners and producers, told the New York Times that it had decided Rivers did not meet the criteria for dimming the lights on theater marquees in the traditional industry honor for deceased theater celebrities.

Rivers appeared on Broadway three times and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1994.

But league executive director Charlotte St. Martin told the newspaper that for the lights to be dimmed, a deceased person needs to have been "very active recently" on Broadway, or to have made his or her career there.

While Rivers was supportive of Broadway and attended many show openings, she has not acted on Broadway in two decades and thus does not meet the criteria, the newspaper reported.

The decision has already sparked a petition asking the Broadway League to reconsider.

"Not dimming the lights will be a blemish on the entire Broadway community that will never go away," said the petition issued by Tom D'Angora. "We implore Broadway to reverse its decision and show our beloved legend the respect she deserves!"

As of Monday evening, the petition had received 930 signatures.

Rivers wrote and performed in "Fun City" on Broadway in 1971, appeared as a replacement performer as Kate Jerome in Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound" in 1988, and wrote and starred in "Sally Marr… And Her Escorts" in 1994, the newspaper reported.

The lights on Broadway did go dark last month for Robin Williams after his suicide. Williams appeared in Broadway's "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" in 2011, and starred in a one-man show titled "Robin Williams: Live on Broadway."

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.