Joan Rivers' manager breaks silence on her death

Melissa Rivers Pays Tribute to Her Mother Joan Rivers at the 2015 Oscars

A version of this story first appeared in the March 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Veteran manager-producer Larry Thompson, 71, worked closely with Joan Rivers for nearly a decade, but he hasn't spoken publicly about her since her tragic death at age 81 in September 2014.

During an interview with THR to mark his just-announced induction into the Personal Managers Hall of Fame, Thompson explains why he waited. "I thought no one could better speak for Joan than her daughter, Melissa, who has represented her in a most elegant way," he says. "Now, looking back over it, not only did Joan possess impeccable comedic timing but she had perfect legacy timing -; she died at the height of her long and lustrous career."

See photos of the legend throughout her life:

46 PHOTOS
Joan Rivers through the years
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Joan Rivers' manager breaks silence on her death
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 11: Joan Rivers performs on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW. Image dated December 11, 1966. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1965: Comedian Joan Rivers poses for a portrait circa 1965 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
American commedienne and entertainer Joan Rivers jumps into the air, her purse over an outstretched arm and a wig in her other hand, as she tries to hail a taxi from the side of the road, New York, New York, March 1966. (Photo by Truman Moore/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Headshot portrait of American comedian Joan Rivers leaning her face against her fist, 1960s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Overhead view of American commedienne and entertainer Joan Rivers as she lies in a bathtub and talks on the telephone, New York, New York, March 1966. Rivers is wearing a black dress with mesh sleeves and high heels. (Photo by Truman Moore/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 17 -- Pictured: Joan Rivers during the 'Old Age Home' skit on April 9, 1983 -- Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Joan Rivers, host Johnny Carson on Ocotber 5, 1976 -- (Photo by: Ron Tom/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Joan Rivers during Opening Night Performance of 'Marilyn' - February 20, 1985 at Area Nightclub in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 1970: Comedienne Joan Rivers performs live in November 1970 in New York City, New York. (Photo by I.C. Rapoport/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1985: Comedian Joan Rivers poses for a portrait in 1985 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
Francesco Scavullo, Joan Rivers, and Melissa Rivers (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
American comedian Joan Rivers, circa 1985. Photographed in California by Harry Langdon. (Photo by Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Joan Rivers and Husband Edgar Rosenberg during 'The Bounty' Westwood Screening at Coronet Theater in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LONDON -: Singer Boy George and actress Joan Rivers at the Park Lane Hotel in 1984, London. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Betty White, guest host Joan Rivers on September 28, 1983 -- (Photo by: Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Joan Rivers (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 01: Joan Rivers 4/1/1987 (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 1970: Comedienne Joan Rivers with daughter Melissa at home in November 1970 in New York City, New York. (Photo by I.C. Rapoport/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 09: Joan Rivers (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1987: Comedian Joan Rivers poses for a portrait in 1987 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 09: Joan Rivers (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 09: Joan Rivers (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 09: Joan Rivers (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Joan Rivers (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Joan Rivers during Birthday Party for Joan Rivers 'Sally Marr and Her Escorts' Cast Party - June 8, 1994 at Helen Hayes Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Joan Rivers during Birthday Party for Joan Rivers 'Sally Marr and Her Escorts' Cast Party - June 8, 1994 at Helen Hayes Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Joan Rivers (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers during 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Chris Weeks/FilmMagic)
Joan Rivers during The 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals at The Shrine Theater in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 16: TV Guide Channel Host Joan Rivers arrives to the 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel January 16, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
RIDGEWOOD, NJ - JULY 01: Joan Rivers promotes 'Diary of a Mad Diva' at Bookends Bookstore on July 1, 2014 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic)
RIDGEWOOD, NJ - JULY 01: Joan Rivers promotes 'Diary of a Mad Diva' at Bookends Bookstore on July 1, 2014 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30: Media personality/comedian Joan Rivers speaks to fans during her visit at Barnes & Noble Union Square to sign copies of her Book 'Diary Of A Mad Diva' on June 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: (L-R) Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers attend the 2014 NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Upfronts at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on May 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers during The 77th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals at Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)
Joan Rivers during The 57th Annual Emmy Awards - Arrivals at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Joan Rivers during Gala Opening of The JCPenney Experience on Broadway at One Times Square in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/WireImage)
Joan Rivers Attends The 2007 British Academy Television Awards Sponsored By Pioneer At The Palladium In London. . (Photo by Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images)
Joan Rivers during Opening Night Party for the Off-Broadway Musical 'Altar Boyz' at Dodger Stages then Crobar in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
Joan Rivers at the Central Park in New York City, New York (Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, FL - MARCH 02: Comedian Joan Rivers performs at the Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on March 2, 2008 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images)
Comedian Joan Rivers appearing in the Superstar Theater at Resorts Atlantic City on Friday October 20, 2006 (Photo by Tom Briglia/FilmMagic)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Joan Rivers -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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What was it really like to work with the legendary talent?

"I always felt like representing Joan you had to dress fashionably, be very sharp and funny and have plenty of energy just to stay ahead of the curve with her," he admits. "I think she respected me, and I loved her."

Read More: Melissa Rivers on Playing Her Mother, Joan, in 'Joy': "I Didn't Want It to Be a Caricature"

RELATED: See photos of Joan Rivers with other celebrities throughout her career:
28 PHOTOS
Joan Rivers with celebs
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Joan Rivers' manager breaks silence on her death
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Aired 06/29/1981 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Gary Coleman, guest host Joan Rivers (Photo by Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Air Date 09/26/1983 -- Pictured: (l-r) Guest host Joan Rivers, actor David Hasselhoff on September 23, 1983 (Gene Arias, NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Singer Boy George and actress Joan Rivers at the Park Lane Hotel in 1984, London. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Stevie Wonder stands with Joan Rivers at the 8th annual Los Angeles street Fest September 28, 1985 in Los Angeles, CA. The singer's performance in front of City Hall was watched by thousands including Mayor Tom Bradley. (Photo by Marc Biggins, Liaison/Getty)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Talk show host Oprah Winfrey during an interview with guest host Joan Rivers on January 27, 1986 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Arsenio Hall, guest host Joan Rivers on March 6, 1986 -- (Photo by: Gene Arias/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Air Date 04/25/1986 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress/comedian Joan Rivers during an interview with host Johnny Carson on April 25, 1986 (Photo by Paul Drinkwater, NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Betty White, left, with Joan Rivers. (NBCU Photo Bank/Getty)
Richard Simmons, left, with Joan Rivers. (NBC/Getty)
Joan Rivers and Tyra Banks (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Joan Rivers and Mickey Mantle during 'Can We Shop' Telethon - May, 18, 1994 at CBS Broadcast Center in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Joan Rivers and Bruce Vilanch during The 2005 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS 'Gypsy of The Year Competition' at The Neil Simon Theater in New York City, NY, United States. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
Joan Rivers, Antonio Banderas and Julie Andrews during Dreamworks Pictures and Dreamworks Productions Present The Premiere of Shrek 2 at Beekman Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Mychal Watts/WireImage)
Joan Rivers and John Lithgow during Celebrities Backstage at 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' on Broadway at The Imperial Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Bruce Glikas, FilmMagic/Getty)
Joan Rivers, Bill Maher and Melissa Rivers during HBO 2006 Golden Globes After Party - Arrivals at Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Michael Tran, FilmMagic/Getty)
Rosie O'Donnell and Joan Rivers during Opening Night of 'A Chorus Line' - Arrivals at The Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York, New York, United States. (Bruce Glikas, FilmMagic/Getty)
NEW YORK - MAY 10: Donald Trump and Joan Rivers attend 'The Celebrity Apprentice' season finale at the at American Museum of Natural History on May 10, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
Dennis Rodman and Joan Rivers attend 'The Celebrity Apprentice' season finale at the American Museum of Natural History on May 10, 2009 in New York City. (Jim Spellman, WireImage/Getty)
(L-R) Joan Rivers and 50 Cent attend 50 Cent Street King Ad campaign shoot at the Planet Fitness - Harlem on March 27, 2012 in New York City. (Johnny Nunez, WireImage/Getty)
Liza Minnelli (L) and Joan Rivers pose backstage at the hit comedy 'The Performers' on Broadway at The Longacre Theater on October 23, 2012 in New York City. (Bruce Glikas, FilmMagic/Getty)
(L-R) Martha Stewart, Joan Rivers and Star Jones attend Dennis Basso during Fall 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Stage at Lincoln Center on February 12, 2013 in New York City. (Brian Killian, WireImage/Getty)
Orlando Bloom and Joan Rivers pose backstage at 'Romeo and Juliet' on Broadway at The Richard Rogers Theater on November 9, 2013 in New York City. (Bruce Glikas, FilmMagic/Getty)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Singer Ray J suprises media personality Joan Rivers onset as she visits 'Live From The Couch' to promote the March 29th season four premiere of her reality show 'Joan And Melissa: Joan Knows Best' on WETV at CBS -TV Studios on March 28, 2014 in New York City. (Jemal Countess, Getty)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured (l-r): Joan Rivers and Tracy Morgan -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JULY 11: Comedy queen, television personality and best-selling author Joan Rivers visits THE TALK, Friday, July 11, 2014 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Joan Rivers, and Sharon Osbourne, shown. (Sonja Flemming, CBS via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured (l-r): Andy Cohen, Joan Rivers and Maksim Chmerkovskiy -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 081 -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Joan Rivers during an interview with host Seth Meyers on August 4, 2014 -- (Lloyd Bishop ,NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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