Dr. Joyce Brothers, the famous TV psychologist who became a media personality, died Monday at the age of 85. TMZ reports that Brothers died in New York City after battling a long illness.
Brothers was known for pioneering the idea of a television psychologist. Through her TV relationship advice show and column for Good Housekeeping, which was widely syndicated, Brothers became known for spreading psychological wisdom and advice to countless Americans since the 1950s.
Born Joyce Diane Bauer in New York City in 1927, Brothers earned her Ph.D in psychology from Columbia University after completing undergraduate work at Columbia. In 1949, she married Milton Brothers and soon left her teaching positions at Hunter College and Columbia University to raise their baby. The pair needed money to raise a family, so they turned to a popular quiz show to make ends meet.
Brothers rocketed to fame in 1955 after competing on the popular quiz show “The $64,000 Question,” which quizzed contestants on highly specific knowledge in a specific subject area. Brothers was assigned boxing.
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Brothers reportedly memorized 20 volumes of a boxing encyclopedia in preparation for the challenge and became the first woman — and second person — to win the show’s grand prize after correctly answering every question she was given. Though “The $64,000 Question” was later plagued by accusations of cheating, Brothers insisted in 1959 that she had never cheated on the show.
Impressed with Brothers’ knowledge, CBS executives offered Brothers the chance to become a color commentator for boxing on the network. By 1958, she was offered her own relationship advice show on a local New York TV station. Her show, which changed names several times over the years, pioneered the idea of a television psychologist.
Over the years, Brothers became a well-known TV personality, appearing on shows such as “Saturday Night Live,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” "Happy Days,” and more. She appeared on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” more than 100 times.
Despite her status as a media personality, Brothers remained well-respected in het profession.
"She wasn't some pop psychologist. In her advice column and her television work, gave clear analysis and advice,” “Dr. Phil” McGraw told the Associated press on Monday. "I truly think she was a pioneer. Here comes a woman who was articulate, educated and very credible. She talked about these things and took them mainstream and laid a lot of important groundwork for those to come later.”
The Associated Press reports that Brothers is survived bysister Elaine Goldsmith, daughter Lisa Brothers Arbisser, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.