tv NBC Nightly News NBC September 4, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
and afternoon storms and then sunday, much cooler, much less humid. that's the day for a lot of the outdoor stuff. for all of us here at nbc 10, thanks for watching, i'm renee chenault-fattah. >> i'm jim rosenfield. on our broadcast tonight, joan rivers, the life and death of a comedy legend. a woman who went where almost no one else dared to go. tonight, the reaction to the death of an american original. crossing the line, after violent protests in the streets of ferguson, missouri, the feds have now launched a sweeping new civil rights investigation. > moment of crisis. an explosion during a museum science experiment. children and parents are burned and now the questions about how it happened. and football night in america, it's back. and tonight we raise the curtain with the story of the man so many will be watching tonight. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian
willia williams. good evening. there have never been anyone like her and she changed the game for all who followed her. right after news broke here this afternoon that joan rivers had died at the age of 81, the "new york times" headline called her a comedian for whom nothing was too soon or too sacred. before joan rivers came along, we'd never heard anyone talk that way, at least not publicly. nothing was off limits with her. no one was safe. she lived her whole life outloud. she said she made jokes to get through life in fact. and while sensitivities changed around her, she never changed who she was right up until the end. she still said things no one else would. and that's pretty much how she is being remembered tonight. we want to begin our coverage tonight with nbc's rehema ellis outside mt. sinai hospital here in new york. >> reporter: good evening, brian. hospital officials say today there's been a flood of phone calls from well-wishers wondering where they can send flowers and cards to remember joan rivers as her family
prepares for her funeral. melissa rivers returned to her mother's manhattan home this afternoon where well-wishers left flowers and cards. and on hollywood's walk of fame, more flowers and remembrances. joan rivers was undergoing a procedure on her vocal cord at a new york city clinic august 28th when she stopped breathing and was rushed to mount sinai hospital. melissa rivers and 13-year-old grandson cooper flew from los angeles to be at her side. doctors at mount sinai put her in a medically induce ed coma. yesterday she was moved out of intensive care into a private room. that manhattan clinic, yorkville endoscopy is under review. fans have taken to social media with messages. from ellen degeneres, joan rivers will always be a pioneer.
she paved the way for a lot of comedians. i'm very sad she's gone. and from whoopi goldberg, my friend joan rivers has passed away. once again to quote billy crystal, there are no words. bon voyage, joan. and samuel l. jackson, love her or hate her, we're gonna miss joan rivers. one of a kind. rest in peace. in a statement today melissa rivers said my mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. although that is difficult to do right now, i know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon. according to her close friend in her final days joan rivers was surrounded by the things she loved, family and friends. her funeral is scheduled for sunday here in new york city. brian. >> rehema ellis outside the hospital for us tonight to start us off. rehema, thanks. because she was a genuine trail blazer, joan rivers' legacy can be found on small stages this
very night in comedy clubs across this country. whether or not her humor was for you, she did it all herself. she came to prominence as a self-made woman. and we look back at all of it tonight with nbc's cynthia mcfadden. >> can we talk? >> reporter: even her biggest fans would agree not everyone loved joan rivers. >> i was a good girl because nobody gave a damn. >> reporter: while she could turn the joke on herself. >> i wept into the store today and said what have you got to go with this suit and she gave me a bottle of cheap wine. >> reporter: her often vulgar approach. >> -- the most beautiful woman vomited on by -- >> reporter: cheers and boos in a career lasting more than 50 years. she was, however, the first. first woman to host a late-night show. first woman to take on the guys in hard-hitting standup. >> her style was bold. really bold. willing to say anything. willing to do edgy material.
that was not expected out of a woman. >> reporter: she was born in brooklyn, the daughter of russian immigrants. and drawn to performing at an early age. her big break was in 1965 when she was discovered by johnny carson. for 20 years she'd be a frequent guest and guest host on nbc's "the tonight show". >> they all said i stank and you're the first one to say you're funny. >> reporter: their friendship ended abruptly in 1986 when she agreed to host her own late-night show competing against carson on fox. a moment rivers vividly described in the 2010 documentary "joan rivers, a piece of work". >> the first person i called was johnny carson. he slammed the phone down. i called again and slammed it down again and never spoke to me again. ever. >> reporter: her show lasted just eight months. not long after her husband of 22 years, edgar rosenberg, committed suicide. saddled with debt and an
uncertain future, rivers reinvented herself as an entertainment commentator. of late rivers brought her accostic humor to the red carpet hosting "fashion police" on e and co-starring in her own reality show. >> mom, get in the car. >> reporter: her use of plastic surgery was well-known. and she owned it. >> women didn't talk about that. that's something you had to hide. and people just suddenly saw you had a new nose and you never talked about it. but she did. >> reporter: while her face may have changed, her -- never did. >> the germans killed 6 million views, you can't fix a [ bleep ] ca c cash rater. >> welcome back to the network. >> reporter: her star shone brightly right up to the end. >> i love performing. i love what the audience gives you. i'm so happy i can have people to laugh with. >> reporter: cynthia mcfadden, nbc news, new york. >> it will surprise no one joan
rivers had the last word on her own farewell. in her book "i hate everyone starting with me" she lays out her own funeral wishes saying in part "i want my funeral to be a huge shobiz affair. i want it hollywood all the way. i want meryl streep crying in five different accents. i want to look gorgeous, better dead than i do alive. i want to be buried in a valentino gown. and i want a wind machine so even my hair will blow like beyonce's. at this point we turn to other news from across the country. that takes us to missouri in the st. louis suburb of ferguson during the violence that broke out after a young unarmed man was shot and killed on the street by a police officer, many at the time said the whole world is watch iing.
the department of justice taking a good hard look at the police department and their tactics over several years. we get our report tonight from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: the investigation comes nearly a month after racial tension in ferguson erupted into violent protest over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed teenager michael brown. now in a completely separate investigation the justice department will examine the conduct of the entire ferguson police department over the past several years. >> our investigation will assess the police department's use of force including deadly force. it will analyze stops, searches and arrests. and it will examine the treatment of individuals detained at ferguson's city jail. >> reporter: among the issues, racial profiling, missouri's attorney general says per capita black drivers are nearly three times more likely than whites to be stopped and more likely to be arrested when they are stopped. another potential issue, hiring. two-thirds of ferguson's 20,000 residents are black. only four of the police
department's 53 officers are black. the government will also work with the st. louis county police to review how they operate including their response to mass demonstrations. the ferguson police chief told nbc's ron allen he'll cooperate. >> there's nothing wrong here. i'm saying we are a good solid community. we can be better. and we're going to be. >> reporter: and the mayor says the police are working on better community relations. >> we've been meeting with african-americans in our community and getting their concerns. we'll continue to do that and continue to help bridge any gap that may be there. >> reporter: but many in ferguson's black community say the protest that followed last month's shooting expressed years of frustration with the police. >> i have a lot of friends, relatives, people that come visit me out here stop on the way or on the way back home. >> you know you're right. and you try what the police say smart-off, they basically lock you up. and they hold you for 24 hours
for no reason. >> reporter: the family of michael brown says the civil rights investigation is encouraging and called for more use of police body cameras to record confrontations. today, police in new york and washington say they're looking into expanding the use of them. brian. >> pete williams outside the justice department for us tonight. pete, thanks. fast food workers staged protests across the country today. they want the minimum wage raised to $15 from the current $7.25 which a lot of businesses say would then result in higher prices and fewer jobs. one worker mcdonald's here in new york city told us "with $15 i'd be able to save enough to rent a home for my kids". overseas the growing threat by isis militants dominated the meeting of nato leaders in wales today with president obama pressing them to join the effort to combat this terrorist group. tonight, what at least appears to be a major development concerning american boots on the ground overseas. our senior white house correspondent chris jansing is
traveling with the president in wales tonight. chris, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. after a really intense day of high stakes meetings here, it does appear we are witnessing a major change in u.s. policy. it concerns the threat posed by isis, which was even the topic tonight at the dinner at cardiff castle. when i sat down with deputy national security advisor ben rhodes, he opened the door to deeper military involvement to destroy isis. can you do it in syria without boots on the ground? >> we're looking at what's going to be necessary. we've said clearly you need a strategy on both sides of this border. this is an organization that operates without respect for borders. >> so you're not ruling that out? >> we're not ruling that out. what we're already doing is providing a military assistance to syrian opposition who ultimately is the strongest counterweight on the ground to isil. we'll look at whether additional options are necessary going forward. >> reporter: one example of the heightened concerns, president obama got tied up in a meeting on isis with king abdullah of
jordan earlier today. and was late for a session on the russian threat in ukraine. brian. >> chris jansing in wales for us tonight covering that nato meeting. chris, thanks. a man once mentioned as a possible future presidential contender has tonight been found guilty of corruption. the republican former governor of virginia, bob mcdonnell has been on trial in a complex case involving his wife and a wealthy business executive and an unusual defense strategy some have labeled the bad marriage defense. nbc's kelly o'donnell live outside the courthouse in richmond tonight. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. not just a fall but a tumble from grace for the once rising star of the republican party former governor bob mcdonnell. i heard heaving sobs from the mcdonnell family in the courtroom today after the five-week trial jurors found mcdonnell guilty of 11 counts, wife maureen nine counts. all over loans from a virginia
businessman who wanted the governor to boost his diet supplement company. jurors didn't buy the mcdonnells claim their marriage was in such tatters they weren't talking and therefore couldn't have consp e conspired. they face potentially years behind bars. sentencing comes in january and they do plan to appeal. bri brian. >> kelly o'donnell covering for us tonts. we've learned another american doctor infected with the ebola virus is being flown back to this country. but unlike the previous two american missionaries who were treated at the hospital in atlanta, dr. rick sacra who fell ill while fighting this epidemic in liberia is being taken to a special isolation unit being prepared at the nebraska medical center in omaha. he is expected to arrive some time tomorrow morning. and home depot has reportedly been in contact with the u.s. secret service about a potentially huge data breach at the company. home depot ceo assured customers today they will not be liable for any fraudulent charges if in fact there was a confirmed
breach. this problem was first reported by a website focuses on cyber security. said customer data could have been stolen from nearly all of home depot's 2,200 stores. still ahead for us on a thursday evening, a museum science experiment explodes. a huge flash of fire caught on video. children and their parents hospitalized with burns. and later, the answer to a family mystery in a household where a lot of things have gone missing and the dog had a guilty look. waves don't care what age you are. take them on the way you always have. live healthy and take one a day 50+. complete multivitamins. with 7 antioxidants to support cell health. research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day 50+ for men. and for women. age? who cares. one a day 50+
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terrifying moments. screaming, scrambling and calls for help. >> something just exploded. children are hurt. >> reporter: paramedics found 13 people, most of them children, suffering from smoke inhalation and chemical burns including 10-year-old caylee, the worst injury of all. >> her little face was on fire. her hair. my best friend jumped over everybody and just started putting it out with her hands. >> reporter: police are now working with museum staff to determine what went wrong with an otherwise routine tornado simulation. just before the accident the museum employee presented the incident saying she forgot an ingredient. >> oh, you know what i didn't add, the alcohol. that employee is now on paid administrative leave. >> reporter: what happened to your legs? >> burned. >> reporter: did it hurt? >> yeah. >> reporter: nine people including seven children have now been treated and released from local hospitals with minor
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the start of the nfl season. and that means for all of us crazed fans, life won't be the same until winter. and if you're one of those that change into a lucky jersey to watch a game on tv, you know who you are and you're not alone. tonight, green bay visits seattle led by quarterback russell wilson. one sports writer this week said his play on the field and his short stature make him one of the most watchable players in the game. we get a curtain-raiser tonight from nbc's josh elliot. >> reporter: three years ago russell wilson led wisconsin to the rose bowl, but when the seahawks drafted the 5'11" quarterback in the third round, there were concerns he was too short to play in the nfl. he certainly wasn't expected to emerge as seattle's starter, but wilson's self-confidence allowed for no such doubt. >> i never considered myself an underdog. if i considered myself an underdog, i don't think i'd be here. but i always view myself as a champion. >> reporter: last year that came
precisely true. wilson led the seahawks to a stunning super bowl rout of peyton manning and the denver broncos. if you had to pick one moment from that sunday that stays with you, what is it? >> i think the biggest moment is stepping on the field for the first time for pre-game warmups. realizing i'm here for a reason. >> they are blowing the roof off this place in new jersey! >> reporter: for the first time in the team's near 40-year history a championship was theirs. >> there's two things you really know you won the super bowl, the first one was -- the second moment was coming back to seattle. millions of people out there in downtown seattle going nuts, going crazy. that is a surreal moment. >> reporter: wilson says it's not just about the 11 men on the field, it's also about the 12th man all around them, seattle's fans. >> it's about them. it's about our football team and what we do on a daily basis. >> they're going to do it again. back-to-back. >> we love you seahawks. >> reporter: a lifelong
two-sports star, he also knows his way around a baseball diamond. earlier this year he attended spring training with the texas rangers, who hold his rights. >> how do you end all your interviews. >> say go haux. >> go hawks. >> we know we're champions. at the end of the day it doesn't mean anything. the journey is just starting. >> reporter: go hawks indeed. a very familiar refrain here. but walking in the city today you would think the city leaders had passed an ordinance requiring all citizens leaving their homes to do so only clad in seahawks garb. why not? this city is for super bowl triumph in the team's near 40-year history. tonight, the hunt is on for title number two, brian. >> josh, thanks. good to have you from seattle tonight. and while we welcome josh elliot, we also want to let you know the game is coming up on these nbc stations. let's bring in that music. it is time after all. we've waited months.
football night in america on a thursday night tonight from the friendly and very loud confines of centurylink field in seattle. that is for us our broadcast on a thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. as always we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. thanks for all those laughs. remembering the life of joan rivers. welcome to "access hollywood." i'm billy bush. though the news today was not a surprise given her medical situation, it does not lessen the blow.blow. at age 81, joan rivers is gone. and it was her daughter melissa at her mother's side who broke the news to the world.
it is with great sadness that i announce the death of my mother joan rivers. she passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends. flowers today were placed on joan's star on the hollywood walk oof the comedy vet passing. in new york news crews have been stationed outside mt. sinai hospital since thursday awaiting any word on joan's condition. rivers was rushed to the hospital in critical condition after she stopped breathing during a routine medical procedure on her vocal cords. joan was moved out of intensive care and into a private room yesterday where melissa said she was being kept comfortable. melissa goes on to say my mother's greatest joy in life was to make others laugh. i know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon. >> she was amazing. her strength was incredible. and she became r