Dr. Joyce Brothers, TV psychologist, dies

Dr. Joyce Brothers, the Jewish psychologist who dispensed advice on TV and radio and first achieved fame by appearing on a game show, has died.

Brothers died on Monday in New York at the age of 85.

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Brothers’ 1950s program, “The Dr. Joyce Brothers Show,” helped normalize the public discussion of psychological issues, setting the stage for future media psychologists such as Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura.

She went on to become a syndicated columnist, author of 15 books, and a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show.” She also made cameos in movies and on TV shows including “Happy Days,” “Taxi” and “The Simpsons.”

Before earning her psychology degree at Cornell Universtiy and her masters degree at Columbia University, Brothers became well-known with a 1955 appearance on a game show, “The $64,000 Question.” Brothers won the top prize, after an intense course of study on the subject of boxing. She participated in the game show to earn money after leaving work following the birth of her daughter while her husband, Milton Brothers, an internist, was a low-paid hospital resident.

She was called to testify before a grand jury investigating game show scandals in the late 1950s, where she was quizzed about her knowledge of boxing.