Joyce Brothers bigraphy, stories - Psychologist, columnist, television personality

Joyce Brothers : biography

20 October 1927 - 13 May 2013

Joyce Diane Brothers (née Bauer; October 20, 1927 – May 13, 2013) was an American psychologist, television personality and columnist, who wrote a daily newspaper advice column from 1960 to 2013. In 1955, she became the only woman ever to win the top prize on the American game show The $64,000 Question, answering questions on the topic of boxing, which was suggested as a stunt by the show's producers. In 1958, she presented a television show on which she dispensed psychological advice, pioneering the field. She wrote a column for Good Housekeeping for almost forty years and became, according to The Washington Post, the "face of American psychology". Brothers appeared in dozens of television roles, usually as herself, but from the 1970s onward she accepted roles portraying fictional characters, often self-parodies.

Radio therapist Laura Schlessinger credited Brothers with making psychology "accessible".


Some sources indicate 1928 as her year of birth. An official document (though not a birth certificate) in her personal papers held at Cornell University indicates that her birth date was October 20, 1927.


Brothers gained fame in late 1955 by winning The $64,000 Question game show, on which she appeared as an expert in the subject area of boxing. Originally, she had not planned to have boxing as her topic, but the sponsors suggested it, and she agreed. A voracious reader, she studied every reference book about boxing that she could find; she would later tell reporters that it was thanks to her good memory that she assimilated so much material and answered even the most difficult questions."Quiz Winner Credits Memory for Success", Christian Science Monitor, October 14, 1959, pg. 6 In 1959, allegations that quiz shows were rigged, due to the Charles Van Doren controversy on the quiz show Twenty One, began to surface and stirred controversy. Despite these claims, Brothers insisted she had not cheated, nor ever been given any answers to questions in advance. During a 1959 hearing in the quiz show scandal, a producer exonerated her of involvement. Her success on The $64,000 Question earned Brothers a chance to be the color commentator for CBS during the boxing match between Carmen Basilio and Sugar Ray Robinson. She was said to have been the first woman boxing commentator."CBS Radio to Give Male Fan Assist in Airing Basilio, Robinson Fight", Hartford Courant, March 25, 1958, pg. 18A

Richard N. Goodwin, the chief investigator of the quiz show scandals, wrote of how he questioned Brothers, and when she began to cry he decided not to pursue any further inquiries into her actions on the quiz show.

By August 1958, Brothers was given her own television show on a New York station, but her topic was not sports; she began doing an advice show about relationships, during which she answered questions from the audience.John Crosby. "'Sis' Series Looks Good.", Hartford Courant, August 3, 1958, pg. 6. She claimed to have been the first television psychologist, explaining to The Washington Post: "I invented media psychology. I was the first. The founding mother."Henry Allen. "The Mother of Media Psychology.", The Washington Post, December 14, 1989, pg. B1 Sponsors were nervous about whether a television psychologist could succeed, she recalled, but viewers expressed their gratitude for her show, telling her she was giving them information they could not get elsewhere.

Brothers presented syndicated advice shows on both television and radio, during a broadcasting career that lasted more than four decades. Her shows changed names numerous times, from The Dr. Joyce Brothers Show to Consult Dr. Brothers to Tell Me, Dr. Brothers to Ask Dr. Brothers to Living Easy with Dr. Joyce Brothers. In 1964 she interviewed and posed for publicity photographs with The Beatles on their first visit to the United States.

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