Hugh Jackman Recalls Singing at Joan Rivers' 'Uplifting' Funeral

by Jackie Willis 7:36 AM PDT, September 11, 2014
Photo: NBC

Hugh Jackman says Joan Rivers first asked him to perform at her funeral 10 years ago.

On Tuesday's Tonight Show, the Wolverine star recalled to host Jimmy Fallon that the comedian came to see him in the Broadway musical The Boy From Oz a decade ago. "She had planned everything out," Jackman told Fallon of the Sunday, Sept. 7, funeral. "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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The 45-year-old actor did admit that he had some reservations about performing at a funeral. "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?'" he said.

But Jackman will never forget the reaction to his performance. "The entire audience in the synagogue got up and started clapping and cheering. The whole thing was very uplifting, very touching and moving, but funny."

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Along with the Jackman's performance, Howard Stern gave the eulogy for Rivers. "[It] was probably the most remarkable service I have ever witnessed," Stern said on his SiriusXM radio show the day after the funeral.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill and Giuliana Rancic and Rosie O'Donnell were also in attendance. Rivers passed away on Sept. 2, 2014. She was 81.

"When the bagpipes came out at the end, everyone just started laughing," Jackman said. "Out come the bagpipes! It was perfect."