Hugh Jackman: Joan Rivers Asked Me to Perform at Her Funeral Before Her Death

Hugh Jackman and Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers had asked Hugh Jackman to perform at her funeral long before her death: "It was an appropriate send-off," Jackman told Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday, Sept. 10. Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images; Angela Weiss/Getty Images

Joan would have loved it. Hugh Jackman told Jimmy Fallon that the late Joan Rivers had asked him to perform at her funeral, long before she passed away. The actor appeared on The Tonight Show, Wednesday, Sept. 10, where he explained what it was like to sing at Rivers’ funeral this past weekend at NYC’s Temple Emanu-El.

“It was amazing,” Jackman, 45, recalled of the star-studded service. “I must admit: I’ve been to several funerals, and I’ve always kind of felt for the person who has to sing. I’ve always said, ‘Oh, how do you do that?'”

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The Fashion Police host wanted Jackman to perform at her funeral after watching him in the Broadway musical, The Boy from Oz, nearly 10 years ago. “At her funeral, when Joan Rivers asks you [to perform], just answer,” Jackman told Fallon. “She had planned everything out. She had seen me in a show called The Boy from Oz, which I did here on Broadway. And I sang a song from that. It was called ‘Quiet Please, There’s A Lady On Stage.’ It’s a beautiful celebration of a woman, and it was for her.”

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Rivers knew what she was doing. “The entire audience in the synagogue got up and started clapping and cheering,” Jackman said of his performance. “The whole thing was very uplifting, very touching and moving, but funny.”

Along with Jackman, Howard Stern eulogized the late great Rivers at her funeral on Sunday, Sept. 7. “[It] was probably the most remarkable service I have ever witnessed,” Stern said on his SiriusXM radio show the day after Rivers’ funeral.

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Stern added of Jackman’s performance: “He starts singing it quietly and part of the song is clap your hands together. He made everyone get up and start clapping their hands to the song. I was so f—ing moved by this guy’s performance. I had tears. Now, you know me. I’m a big scumbag. I don’t get moved. I appreciated this guy so much. Hugh Jackman. You know, f—ing Wolverine.”

Rivers’ funeral was also attended by stars like Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill and Giuliana Rancic, and Rosie O’Donnell. “When the bagpipes came out at the end, everyone just started laughing,” Jackman recalled to Fallon. “Out come the bagpipes! It was perfect.”

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