NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Family and friends will be saying goodbye to famed psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers.
Brothers’ funeral is at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday at the Riverside Memorial Chapel in Manhattan followed by burial at the Beth David
Cemetery on Long Island.
She died Monday at age 85 of respiratory failure at her home in Fort Lee, N.J., her daughter, Lisa Brothers Arbisser said.
Born Joyce Diane Bauer in New York, Brothers earned her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia.
She pioneered the television advice show in the 1950s, opening the airwaves to discussions of love, marriage and parenting, as well as such taboo subjects as menopause, frigidity, impotence and sexual enjoyment. She went on to become an author, syndicated advice columnist and TV and film personality, setting the stage for today’s one-named TV doctors.
Brothers first gained fame in 1955 on the game show “The $64,000 Question” and said her multimedia career came about “because we were hungry.”
Her husband, Milton Brothers, was still in medical school and Brothers had just given up her teaching positions at Hunter College and Columbia University to be home with her newborn, firmly believing a child’s development depended on it.
But the young family found itself struggling on her husband’s residency income. So Brothers came up with the idea of entering a television game show as a contestant.
“The $64,000 Question” quizzed contestants in their chosen area of expertise. She memorized 20 volumes of a boxing encyclopedia and, with that as her subject, became the only woman and the second person to ever win the show’s top prize.
Her celebrity opened up doors. In 1956, she became co-host of “Sports Showcast” and frequently appeared on talk shows.
Two years later, NBC offered her a trial on an afternoon television program in which she advised on love, marriage, sex and child-rearing. Its success led to a nationally telecast program, and subsequent late-night shows that addressed even racier topics.
She also dispensed advice on several phone-in radio programs, sometimes going live. She was criticized by some for giving out advice without knowing her callers’ histories. But Brothers responded that she was not practicing therapy on the air and that she advised callers to seek professional help when needed.
Despite criticism of the format, the call-in show took off, and by 1985, the Association of Media Psychologists was created to monitor for abuses.
Dr. Drew Pinsky, who has offered his medical expertise in radio and television formats first pioneered by Brothers, saluted her impact on the industry.
“Knew nothing about her history on the $64,000 question, but I did know Joyce Brothers,” he wrote on Twitter. “She was a pioneer and very knowledgeable.”
Phil McGraw called Brothers “a pioneer in the field of mental health.”
“Decades before I came along, Dr. Joyce was able to get people talking about their emotional issues and problems. In her own gentle and caring way she let people know it was OK to discuss their feelings and emotions,” he said in a statement Monday. “She had a great sense of humor and gave very sound advice in her column and whenever she appeared on TV. I owe her a great deal for what she did for the mental health profession and society owes her a big thank you.”
For almost four decades, Brothers was a columnist for Good Housekeeping. She also wrote a daily syndicated advice column that appeared in more than 350 newspapers. Briefly, in 1961, she was host of her own television program.
Later, Brothers branched out into film, playing herself in more than a dozen movies, including “Analyze That” (2002), “Beethoven’s 4th” (2001), “Lover’s Knot” (1996) and “Dear God” (1996).
She was also an advocate for women. In the 1970s, Brothers called for changing textbooks to remove sexist bias, noting that nonsexist cultures tend to be less warlike.
She wrote numerous advice books, including “Ten Days To A Successful Memory” (1964), “Positive Plus: The Practical Plan for Liking Yourself Better” (1995) and “Widowed” (1992), a guide to dealing with grief written after the death of her husband in 1990.
Brothers is survived by sister Elaine Goldsmith, daughter Arbisser, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function at 612 Allerton Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467.
Brothers’ family also welcomes condolences and memories at the Facebook page facebook.com/DrJoyceBrothers.
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