Mother of TV psychologists Dr. Joyce Brothers dies at 85
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It all started out of necessity, Dr. Joyce Brothers insisted. Her husband was still in medical school and she had just given up her teaching positions at Hunter College and Columbia University to be at home with her newborn. Struggling for income, Brothers entered the TV game show "The 64,000 Question," and amazed viewers with her series of perfect answers. Audiences wanted more of her, so Brothers put her psychological training to work - and became the mother of TV psychiatrists. She has passed away at the age of 85.
Genteel and approachable, Dr. Joyce Brothers was a tireless advocate for women. She called for changing textbooks to remove sexist bias, noting that nonsexist cultures tend to be less warlike.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Dr. Phil McGraw, better known as TV advice guru Dr. Phil, had fond memories of Brothers. "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," he said.
Enjoying a high profile on "The $64,000 Question," she was exonerated of accusations of cheating. In 1956, she became co-host of "Sports Showcast" and frequently appeared on talk shows. NBC offered her a trial on an afternoon television program two years later in which she advised on love, marriage, sex and child-rearing.
Her later nationally telecast program and late-night shows addressed such taboo subjects as menopause, frigidity, impotence and sexual enjoyment.
She was the subject of criticism by some. Many pointed out that she would just dole out advice without knowing her caller's previous histories. Brothers responded that she was not practicing therapy on the air and she always advised callers to seek professional help when needed.
Brothers was noted for two on-air incidents in which she prevented troubled people from committing suicide - once in 1965, and once on radio in 1971. In the latter incident, Brothers comforted a woman who had overdosed on sleeping pills, and kept her on the line for three and a half hours.
Brothers was also a columnist for Good Housekeeping. She also wrote a daily syndicated advice column that appeared in more than 350 newspapers. Her own nationally syndicated television shows which included, "The Dr. Joyce Brothers Show," "Ask Dr. Brothers" and "Living Easy with Dr. Joyce Brothers."
Just for fun, she played herself in a series of films such as "Analyze That," "Beethoven's 4th," "Lover's Knot" and "Dear God."
Genteel and approachable, Brothers was a tireless advocate for women. She called for changing textbooks to remove sexist bias, noting that nonsexist cultures tend to be less warlike.
Born Joyce Diane Bauer in New York, Brothers earned her bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia.
For all of her success and popular acclaim, Dr. Phil in summations stressed that there was something that Dr. Joyce Brothers was not. "She wasn't some pop psychologist. In her advice column and her television work, gave clear analysis and advice."
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