September 5th, 2014
10:27 AM ET

Hear About the Moment When Joan Rivers Changed One Man's Life

The list of adjectives one could use to describe comedy legend Joan Rivers is seemingly endless.

Most would deem Rivers as funny, naturally, but others would be quick to note that she was acerbic, irreverent and often profane.

Yet as friends, family and fans remember the late Rivers, who died Thursday at 81, one description appears to be the most common refrain - unfailingly generous.

"She could change people's lives any day she wanted," Tony Tripoli, head writer of E!'s Fashion Police, the show on which Rivers starred, told Michaela Pereira on New Day Friday.

Tripoli recounted the moment Rivers tapped him to work on Fashion Police four years ago.

He had few writing credits to his name when Rivers pulled him aside in her daughter's kitchen and asked to work with him.

When he demurred about a lack of experience, Rivers simply said: "it's done."

The success of Fashion Police reignited Rivers' career, and when she died, she was as popular and as hard-working as ever.

"She was the least sentimental person in terms of her own accomplishments," Tripoli said.

As Tripoli clutched a tin of Altoids, he explained their significance - that Rivers would seldom go anywhere without them - and brought them along as a way of keeping her spirit with him.

The longevity of Rivers' career and her ability to stay current were rare characteristics in an increasingly fickle entertainment industry.

Rivers, however, was one of a kind.

"How many 81-year-old women do you know that want to talk to you about Rihanna?" Tripoli asked.

 

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