Edgar Rosenberg

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Edgar Rosenberg
Born c. 1925[1]
Bremerhaven, Germany
Died August 14, 1987(1987-08-14) (aged 61–62)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Cause of death Suicide by prescription drug overdose
Nationality British[2]
Alma mater Rugby School
Cambridge University
Occupation Film producer, television producer
Spouse(s) Joan Rivers (m. 1965)
Children Melissa Rivers

Edgar Rosenberg (c. 1925[1] – August 14, 1987) was a German-born British[2] film and television producer based in the US. He was married to American comedian Joan Rivers.

Early life[edit]

Edgar Rosenberg was born to Jewish parents in Bremerhaven in 1925.[1][3] When he was a small boy, his family emigrated from Germany to Denmark and then South Africa in order to escape the Nazis.[4] He was educated in England at Rugby School and Cambridge University.[4][5]


Rosenberg moved to the United States as a young man and rose to become an assistant to Emanuel Sacks, vice president of entertainment at NBC, but was fired during a year of recovery from a traffic accident and had to work as a night clerk in a bookstore.[4] In the 1960s, he worked for the public relations firm run by Anna M. Rosenberg (to whom he was not related) and was a valued news source for journalists.[5]

As a co-founder of the nonprofit Telsun Foundation production company affiliated with the United Nations, he helped to develop a series of television films promoting the United Nations, one of which (The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966)) was also released to theaters as a feature film.[4][6][7] His other television credits included the 1950s U.S. educational TV series Omnibus[5] and the short-lived 1970s sitcom Husbands, Wives & Lovers, which was created by his wife, Joan Rivers.

In the 1970s, he produced the feature film Rabbit Test (1978), written and directed by Rivers.[8] He served as Rivers' manager for most of their marriage and was a producer on The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, on the newly formed Fox Television Network.[4][5][9]

Personal life[edit]

Rosenberg married comedian and commentator Joan Rivers in July 1965 five days after hiring her to work with him in Jamaica rewriting a screenplay for a joint movie deal with his friend Peter Sellers.[4][5] The couple had one daughter, Melissa Rivers.

In August 1987, several months after Fox fired Rivers, and shortly after Rivers and he had separated,[10] Rosenberg committed suicide by overdosing on prescription drugs in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania hotel room. He had been suffering from clinical depression, which Joan Rivers believed was brought on by medication he had been taking since suffering a heart attack in 1984.[11][12] Nancy Reagan was the first person to telephone Rivers upon Rosenberg's death, and arranged for his body to be moved from Philadelphia.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b c Ron Avery, "Rivers' Edgar Takes Life: Depressed By Illness, Rosenberg Downs Valium Overdose", Philadelphia Daily News, August 15, 1987.
  2. ^ a b Associated Press, "Comedian Joan Rivers dead at 81", The Citizens' Voice, September 4, 2014.
  3. ^ Josh Meyer, United Press International, "Joan Rivers' Husband said Suicide,", Schenectady Gazette, August 14, 1987.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Richard Meryman, "Joan Mourns Edgar," People, August 31, 1987.
  5. ^ a b c d e Nikki Finke, "Edgar Rosenberg: The Public Ending of a Private Life : Suicide of Rivers' Husband Came Without a Warning", Los Angeles Times, August 20, 1987. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  6. ^ Hadley, Mitchell. "The UN Goes to the Movies". TVparty.com. TVparty!. Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  7. ^ Lowry, Cynthia (1966-04-22). "Based on Ian Fleming Outline: Spy Story On Narcotics Traffic Ready To Show". The Reporter. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Associated Press (AP). p. 10. Retrieved 2016-01-01 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ Verswijver, Leo (2003). 'Movies Were Always Magical': Interviews With 19 Actors, Directors and Producers From the Hollywood of the 1930s Through the 1950s. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 130. ISBN 0-7864-1129-5. 
  9. ^ Associated Press, "Edgar Rosenberg, 62; Producer, Husband of Comedian Joan Rivers," The Boston Globe, August 15, 1987 Online at Highbeam; subscription required.
  10. ^ Marjorie Rosen, "The Rivers Run Together", People, June 21, 1993.
  11. ^ Joan Rivers, Bouncing Back: I've Survived Everything... and I Mean Everything... and You Can Too!, New York: Harper Collins, 1997, ISBN 0-06-017821-3, pp. 11–19.
  12. ^ "The Night the Laughter Stopped: Joan Rivers Talks About the Hope and Despair of Husband Edgar's Brush With Death", People, December 10, 1984.
  13. ^ Marylouise Oates, "Fawn Hall Signs with Superagent", Los Angeles Times, August 19, 1987, retrieved October 19, 2014.
  14. ^ Tim Teeman, "Joan Rivers: Our Last Interview", The Daily Beast, September 4, 2014, retrieved October 19, 2014.

External links[edit]