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Encore Presentation: My 2007 interview with Joan Rivers when she said: “Edie Falco can drop dead!”

Editor’s note: I interviewed Joan Rivers by telephone in 2007 when I was a columnist and blogger for the LA Daily News. She and her publicist called a half-hour early and asked if I could do the interview early and I could hear Joan in the background saying: “Oh, come on Greg!” How could I refuse? Here is the story as it appeared in the newspaper and in my Out in Hollywood blog:

Joan Rivers: Armed, Dangerous and Ready for the Red Carpet

February 27, 2007

By Greg Hernandez, Staff Writer

If the Academy Awards show is about the little golden man, the walk into the Kodak Theatre is often about pleasing the woman with the sharp tongue.

Yes, Joan Rivers will again be patrolling the red carpet and, as usual, she’s armed and dangerous.

Along with daughter Melissa, Rivers has been the star attraction of TV Guide Channel’s awards coverage since 2004, after spending nearly a decade doing fashion duty for E!

The pair are on the red carpet each year at the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys and the Golden Globes, among other shows.

“I love the Golden Globes because it’s a party,” the 73-year-old comedian says. “Everyone will drink and have dinner, and the show is part of it. I love the Grammys because they are all so nice. The only one who had an attitude is that horrible Carrie Underwood. She’s a great star just ask her.”

Dig, dig.

“The Oscars are the most formal and have the most riding on them, so the actors are the most tense. You save the best dress for the Oscars.”

So here’s some wit and wisdom from Madame Rivers about the Oscars past and present.

Helen Mirren: “Boy has she done an about-face,” says Rivers of the favorite for the best actress award. “When she first came, she was wearing boas and boots! She and I talked about it. She said, ‘You said I looked so bad that I went to my friend Dolce & Gabbana.’ ”

Meryl Streep: Rivers says she also has high expectations for the 14-time nominee, nominated this year for her performance as a fashion magazine editor in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

“Meryl Streep is going to look very beautiful,” Rivers predicts. “She’s into clothes suddenly. At the Golden Globes, she wore that Grecian gown and looked stunning.”

She also expects nominees Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Hudson and Cate Blanchett to be dazzling tonight.

On guys who ignore Rivers’ famed catchphrase, “Can we talk?”

“The worst ever is Tommy Lee Jones,” she says. “It pains him to talk to you. So then don’t talk. And Russell Crowe. I only wish the phone he threw (at a hotel clerk) was a boomerang.”

Rivers grows irate when reminded of how she allegedly hurt the feelings of Edie Falco when she won her first Emmy for “The Sopranos” for dissing the actress’ fashion choice.

“Edie Falco can drop dead! We never said anything we looked back at the tapes and yet she came out swinging.”

Some stars who she freely admits to panning in the past are Demi Moore, the year she wore bicycle shorts (“a big winner”); Gwyneth Paltrow’s pink gown, the year she won for “Shakespeare in Love” (“It was so badly fitted”); and when Cher showed up for a past winners segment “in a moron Titanic hat.”

Of course, the all-time “hall of shame” winner is Bjork for her famous swan dress, which included an egg-shaped purse that the singer-actress placed on the red carpet for photographers.

As much as she admires stars who show up expertly put together, she does miss the old days when fashion faux pas littered the red carpet like A-list roadkill.

“You pray somebody got high that morning and put the dress on backward,” Rivers says, chuckling.

But if there are fewer disasters, the Rivers women have only themselves to blame.

“We’ve ruined the fun of someone totally walking out in something that is not very attractive,” Joan admits. “I think we’ve created an industry of stylists everyone has a stylist.”

And mostly, they have friendly exchanges with Hollywood’s A-list these days, including her red carpet favorites Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts and Charlize Theron.

“The bigger they are, the more relaxed they are,” Rivers says.

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