NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The lights of the Great White Way will not go dark for Joan Rivers, the Broadway League said Monday.
Rivers died last Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital at the age of 81, a week after going into cardiac arrest during a routine vocal cord procedure at an Upper East Side clinic.
The Broadway League, which represents theater owners and producers, told the New York Times that it had decided Rivers did not meet the criteria for dimming the lights on theater marquees in the traditional industry honor for deceased theater celebrities.
Rivers appeared on Broadway three times and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1994.
But league executive director Charlotte St. Martin told the newspaper that for the lights to be dimmed, a deceased person needs to have been “very active recently” on Broadway, or to have made his or her career there.
While Rivers was supportive of Broadway and attended many show openings, she has not acted on Broadway in two decades and thus does not meet the criteria, the newspaper reported.
“Not dimming the lights will be a blemish on the entire Broadway community that will never go away,” said the petition issued by Tom D’Angora. “We implore Broadway to reverse its decision and show our beloved legend the respect she deserves!”
As of Monday evening, the petition had received 930 signatures.
Rivers wrote and performed in “Fun City” on Broadway in 1971, appeared as a replacement performer as Kate Jerome in Neil Simon’s “Broadway Bound” in 1988, and wrote and starred in “Sally Marr… And Her Escorts” in 1994, the newspaper reported.
The lights on Broadway did go dark last month for Robin Williams after his suicide. Williams appeared in Broadway’s “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” in 2011, and starred in a one-man show titled “Robin Williams: Live on Broadway.”
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