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Melissa Rivers pays tribute to her late mother Joan

Melissa Rivers
Melissa Rivers, pictured on Dec. 10, 2014. Valerie Macon / Getty Images

TORONTO — When Joan Rivers was 8 years old, she took a framed photograph of herself off her parents’ piano, sealed it in an envelope and sent it to MGM in hopes the studio would put her in movies.

“My grandma was not pleased,” Rivers’ daughter Melissa Rivers explained at a Women in Entertainment event in Los Angeles. “It was a $50 frame.”

Melissa said sending the photo to MGM showed that “in her mind, this little girl was clearly a star.”

The star, who died Sept. 4 at 81, was also remembered at the event by comic Sarah Silverman.

“Joan Rivers was not done. She lived a life that could jam-pack 10 lifetimes,” Silverman said. “She wasn’t the average person. She wasn’t done. She left us unfinished.

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“The only thing that was going to stop Joan Rivers was death.”

Melissa, who referred to herself as “an orphan” at Wednesday’s event, earlier paid tribute to her mother in an article published in The Hollywood Reporter.

“She said, ‘I’ll never get the respect that I deserve until I’m dead.’ She was right,” Rivers said. “It’s sad.”

Rivers said she is taking time to “find my voice again” following her famous mother’s death.

“It’s about getting back to work without everyone looking at me funny,” she explained. “Or screw it — I’ll take the funny looks. As my mother would remind me, ‘As long as they’re laughing.'”