Joyce Brothers

Joyce Brothers
Joyce Brothers

Joyce Brothers in 1957
Born Joyce Diane Bauer
October 20, 1927 (1927-10-20) (age 84)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Psychologist
Advice columnist
Years active 1955–present
Spouse Milton Brothers (1949-1989; his death); 1 child, Lisa

Joyce Brothers (born October 20, 1927)[1] is an American psychologist, television personality and advice columnist, publishing a daily syndicated newspaper column since 1960.



Personal life

Brothers was born Joyce Diane Bauer in New York City, New York, the daughter of Estelle (née Rapaport) and Morris K. Bauer, both of whom were attorneys and had a law practice together.[2] Her family is Jewish.[3] She graduated from Far Rockaway High School in Far Rockaway, Queens in 1943.[4]

She earned her Ph.D. degree in psychology from Columbia University after completing her undergraduate work at Cornell University. She married Milton Brothers, an internist, in 1949, and they had a daughter, Lisa. Milton Brothers died in 1989 from cancer. Joyce Brothers resides in Fort Lee, New Jersey.


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.[5] In 1959, allegations that the 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 that she had never cheated, nor had she ever been given any answers to questions in advance. Subsequent investigations verified that she had won honestly.[6] 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 be the first woman ever to be a boxing commentator.[7]

By August 1958, she was given her own TV 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.[8] She later claimed to have been the first television psychologist, explaining to The Washington Post, "I invented media psychology. I was the first. The founding mother."[9] Sponsors were nervous about whether a TV psychologist could succeed, she recalled, but viewers expressed their gratitude for her show, telling her she was giving them information they couldn't get elsewhere.[citation needed] She went on to do syndicated advice shows on both TV and radio, during a broadcasting career that has lasted more than four decades. Her shows went through a number of name changes over the years, 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.[10]

She also had a monthly column in Good Housekeeping magazine for almost four decades, and a syndicated newspaper column that she began writing in the 1970s and which at its height was printed in more than 300 newspapers.[10][11] She has published several best-selling books, including the 1982 book, What Every Woman Should Know About Men, and the 1992 book, Widowed, inspired by the loss of her husband. The latter book offered practical advice for widows and widowers, helping them to cope with their grief and create a new life for themselves. Brothers continues to do guest appearances on television and radio talk shows.

In addition to being called upon for her expertise in psychology, she also has done comedic cameo appearances, including on such TV shows as Saturday Night Live, CHiPs, Simon & Simon, Ellery Queen, Mama's Family, Taxi, Happy Days, Police Squad!, Police Woman, Night Court, The Nanny, Frasier, The Andy Dick Show, The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, One Life to Live, WKRP in Cincinnati, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, Mr. Belvedere, Married... with Children, Entourage, The Simpsons, All That, Kenan & Kel, The Steve Harvey Show, My Two Dads, Melrose Place, The Lonely Guy, ALF, Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Moonlighting.

She appeared as an occasional celebrity guest on game shows such as Match Game, the 1968 revival of What's My Line?, The Gong Show and Hollywood Squares. She also appeared in a Sunday strip of the comic strip Blondie, where she was referred to by Dagwood Bumstead as "Brother Joyce Doctors". Brothers was the ninth-most frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson when Carson retired. An often-replayed blooper from Brothers' Happy Days appearance features her giving a complicated psychological analysis of a dog, only to spark laughter when she accidentally refers to the dog's homosexual behaviour.[12]

As a psychologist, Brothers has been licensed in New York since 1958.[13]

In April 2011, she was appearing on television in commercials endorsing a home alert monitor.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Some sources indicate 1928 as her year of birth or or September 20 as the date. An official document (though not a birth certificate) in her personal papers held at Cornell University indicates that her birth date is Oct. 20, 1927.
  2. ^ Joyce Brothers profile at Film
  3. ^ Joyce Brothers profile
  4. ^ Weinberg, Sydney Stahl. Joyce Brothers profile at the Jewish Virtual Library. Accessed August 20, 2007. "After graduating from Far Rockaway High School in 1943, she entered Cornell University, majoring in psychology. She was a member of the Sigma Delta Tau sorority."
  5. ^ "Quiz Winner Credits Memory for Success", Christian Science Monitor, October 14, 1959, pg. 6
  6. ^ "The Quiz Show Scandal" website
  7. ^ "CBS Radio to Give Male Fan Assist in Airing Basilio, Robinson Fight.", Hartford Courant, March 25, 1958, pg. 18A
  8. ^ John Crosby. "'Sis' Series Looks Good.", Hartford Courant, August 3, 1958, pg. 6.
  9. ^ Henry Allen. "The Mother of Media Psychology.", The Washington Post, December 14, 1989, pg. B1
  10. ^ a b Paley Center for Media website
  11. ^ "Joyce Brothers' Column to Be Daily", Chicago Tribune, September 7, 1974, pg. 7
  12. ^ YouTube: Joyce Brothers Happy Days outtake, accessed July 30, 2010
  13. ^ New York License verification record

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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