Apparently Joan Rivers likes to do her own talking.
Las Vegas Sun columnist Dick Maurice claims that Rivers has managed to keep his unauthorized Rivers bio "Can We Really Talk?" from being published. All the same, it's still earned $72,000 in serialization rights.
(Harvey Friedman, Rivers' attorney, said, "We categorically deny all (Maurice's) contentions.")
Rivers, said Maurice, "killed one book deal with Harper & Row, a second with Paperjacks (which designed a cover, adjoining) and caused two tabloids to cancel plans to serialize it.
"I don't think she's afraid of anything in my book," he added. "It was based on hundreds of personal interviews with her. I think she just wants to corner the market for her own book ("Enter Talking")."
His book sold to the Star for about $30,000 and to the Enquirer for just over $40,000, according to Maurice's agents.
"We didn't run the excerpts because Joan offered us an exclusive interview the very week she split from Johnny Carson," said Richard Kaplan, managing editor of the Star. "It was a better deal for us."
A spokesman for the Enquirer said that lack of a publishing deal threw serialization plans "into limbo--you can't serialize a book which doesn't exist."
According to Maurice: "Joan seemed to know which book companies to contact (during his initial submissions). She went from book company to book company with her threats (of litigation)." Maurice's agents claim they have documentation of 19 calls in one day from Rivers' attorneys to Harper & Row--and sources there indicated that the company withdrew an offer of a $60,000 advance shortly thereafter.
An attorney for the company declined comment. But Tony Seidl, publisher of Paperjacks, a mass-market publisher, acknowledged, "Once it became evident that there was going to be litigation, we dropped plans to publish."
Maurice sued Rivers, claiming her threats kept the book from being published. Rivers sued Maurice for allegedly libeling her with his charges. Both lawsuits are pending.
Meanwhile, Maurice's agents are still shopping.