Kelly Osbourne’s Letter To Joan Rivers
Kelly Osbourne and Joan Rivers/JTA

The pop culture icon and singer pays tribute to the late Jewish comedian in her new memoir

The Osbourne name has come a long way since the heavy metal patriarch Ozzy Osbourne gained notoriety for allegedly biting the head off of a rat at one of his shows.

In particular, the clan’s youngest, Kelly Osbourne, has risen from the challenging exposure of a reality show during her awkward adolescent years to a glitzy, pop cultural icon. She’s developed a singing career (while she has an edgy style she’s not quite as extreme as her pops), has seen success as an actress and fashion designer, is a television host and has even appeared on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Now, Osbourne, 32, is releasing her first memoir. Titled (perhaps without surprise) in fierce, unapologetic candor, “There is NO F*ing Secret: Letters From a Badass Bitch,” the autobiographical epistle style book acknowledges the people in her life who have left a meaningful impression.

Among those people is the late, great comedy legend, Joan Rivers. Rivers, who died in the fall of 2015, impacted many comedians, both established and aspiring, with her acerbic wit that would castigate as effectively as it would self-deprecate. Enormously prolific and active, she was performing up until her death.

Beyond Rivers’ many achievements as an artist she was also a co-host of the E! show “Fashion Police” from 2010 to 2014, on which she and her co-hosts would act as the supreme court of celebrity fashion. One of those co-hosts is Osbourne.

But that was not the first time the two appeared on the screen together. In 1991, when Osbourne was 6 she and her family appeared on “The Joan Rivers Show” via satellite. Osbourne’s less-than-“lady like”, nearly indifferent attitude (she was yawning, scratching herself, and sticking her tongue out on national television), delighted Rivers and from there sprung a 25 year friendship.

However, what may at first strike as an insignificant childish moment grew to be a much deeper, more symbolic ode to the values that bonded Osbourne and Rivers: namely, standing up to normalized societal gender roles and challenging conventional standards of beauty. Ironically, they also served as priests of what looks worked and what didn’t, acting as the ultimate superficial mafia — but therein lies the comedy.

In her letter, Osbourne talks about how Rivers served as a mentor and helped her to toughen up. At one point, the young rocker even got a tattoo in honor of Rivers following her death.

Rivers, who was born to Russian Jewish immigrants and raised in Crown Heights, contributed to a number of Jewish charities and didn’t stop after she died. In her will she named several Jewish organizations as recipients of parts of her estate including the Jewish Guild for the Blind, the Jewish Home and Hospital Foundation and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

In March, one of Rivers’ Seder plates went up for auction at $5,000. 

She herself wrote 12 books, the last of which won her a posthumous Grammy Award in the Best Spoken Word Album category for the audio tape of her 2014 memoir, “Diary Of a mad Diva.”

Rivers passed away after being rushed to Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital after her heart stopped during throat surgery at a clinic. She was 81.

Joan Rivers

Kelly Osbourne




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