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Autopsy: Joan Rivers’ Husband Commits Suicide

August 15, 1987 GMT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Producer Edgar Rosenberg, known to millions by his first name as the butt of jokes by his wife, comedian Joan Rivers, left three cassette tapes before committing suicide by an overdose of prescription drugs, authorities said.

Rosenberg, 62, found dead in a hotel room Friday, left a note and three tapes, one tape for his wife, one for his daughter Melissa and one for his business manager, investigators said.

The cassettes, along with a note and pills believed to be the tranquilizer diazepam, were found in the hotel room where security officers discovered his body Friday morning, police said.


Police declined to reveal the contents of the tapes.

Rosenberg swallowed a fatal amount of prescribed sedatives, according to the autopsy report released from the Philadelphia medical examiner’s office Friday night.

Hospitalized in Ireland last week for gastrointestinal bleeding, Rosenberg suffered a mild heart attack in January. He had been due to enter Cedars-Sinai Medical Center today in Los Angeles.

″Rosenberg, who suffered a major heart attack in November 1984 and underwent quadruple bypass surgery, has been in poor health recently and greatly depressed,″ said Richard Grant, a spokesman for Miss Rivers.

Rosenberg was found dead on the floor of his hotel room next to his bed after his business manager called him at the Four Seasons Hotel and received no answer, Detective Gerald Whartenby said.

The time of death has not yet been determined, according to Bob Waters, a medical examiner’s office spokesman. A toxicology report on the substances in Rosenberg’s body will not be released until at least Monday, Waters said.

Police said Rosenberg had been in the city for meetings since Tuesday. Rosenberg and his wife have millions of dollars of real estate holdings in the area. Rosenberg’s business manager, Thomas B. Pileggi, is a prominent real estate developer from nearby Montgomery County.

Grant said there would be no immediate statement from Miss Rivers.

″It’s just a little bit too much for her right now,″ he said. Miss Rivers received the news in the couple’s home in Bel Air, Calif. Their daughter just finished her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rosenberg had managed his wife’s career during most of their 22-year marriage. After his 1984 heart surgery, Miss Rivers commented about her relationship with Rosenberg.

″I fell apart. The first three weeks were a nightmare beyond anything I ever encountered,″ she said.

In January, Rosenberg was hospitalized at UCLA Medical Center after a mild heart attack. He quit a five-pack-a-day cigarette habit after his brush with death in 1984, when his quadruple bypass surgery was preceded by a massive heart attack. Miss Rivers canceled shows to stay at his bedside.

Rosenberg most recently was involved with Miss Rivers in her disastrous outing on Fox Broadcasting Co.’s ″The Late Show,″ from which she was removed as host after seven months.

As co-executive producer of the show, Rosenberg was ordered by Fox Broadcasting President Jamie Kellner in April to stay out of the program’s daily operations.

Miss Rivers was taken off the show about one month later as ratings continued to decline.

Memorial services were scheduled for Sunday at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles.