By Debra Zimmerman Murphey
Joan Rivers’ face may have defied gravity, but, sadly, her body did not defy mortality. In what still seems like a shocking turn of events when you consider how vital and mentally fit Rivers was at the age of 81, we are reminded that trailblazers eventually leave us and we owe it to ourselves to understand what they taught us.
Many colleagues and friends might be interested to learn that my husband Maury Tobin’s deceased mom, Ellen, was the first cousin of Sandy Arthur, who was half of the former talent-mining and development duo Irvin and Sandy Arthur, a husband-and-wife team. The entertainment entrepreneurs extraordinaire lived in Beverly Hills, Chicago and New York at various points. They cumulatively managed bookings and clubs and ushered in new talent, particularly comedians and musicians. Irvin represented greats such as Steve Allen, Ellen DeGeneres, Dick Gregory, Peggy Lee, Bill Maher and Barbra Streisand.
But what’s noteworthy now is that Rivers once worked as a secretary for Irvin while she was striving to jettison her career. Irvin, however, found her sense of humor off-putting. He knew she was determined, but there was little means of forecasting that her tenor of jokes would ensure her comic fame for decades, spanning bouffants to extensions. Years ago, Maury conducted some interviews with Irvin and after Rivers’ death, he dug through his audio archives and found an interesting bit from Irvin about Rivers. LISTEN to it here.