Emmy-winning comedian Joan Rivers died this week in New York at the age of 81. “It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,” Melissa Rivers, her daughter, said in a statement.
The late comedian lived a triplex penthouse just steps from Fifth Avenue that features Central Park views from floor-to-ceiling windows. Updated and completely modernized, the opulent home has two master suites, a ballroom with gilded columns 23-foot ceilings, a gourmet eat-in kitchen and three wood-burning fireplaces.
Rivers had tried several times to sell the one-of-a-kind apartment, putting the sprawling 24,508-sq ft apartment on the market for $29.5 million in 2012.
Constructed in 1910, the limestone mansion was built for John R. Drexel and his socialite wife Alice Troth Drexel. It’s the work of Horace Trumbauer, the famed Gilded Age architect-to-the robber barons. The home was converted in the 1930s into apartments. According to previous listing information, one of the apartments in the building was home to Ernest Hemingway for many years.
The comedian first listed the luxury penthouse in May 2009 for $25 million, when she planned to move out to the West Coast to be nearer to her daughter Melissa. In August 2009, the home was still on the market when former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi called her broker, offering to rent it for $200,000 a week.
Rivers told The New York Times: “Qaddafi wanted to rent it for that whole U.N. thing. People said it’s blood money. I said, ‘Oh, I can easily wash blood off dollar bills.’ But they didn’t like it. It was too close to a synagogue.”
“My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh,” Melissa Rivers said in a statement. “Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.”
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