By ULA ILNYTZKY
Joyce Brothers, the pop psychologist who pioneered the television advice show in the 1950s and enjoyed a long and prolific career as a syndicated columnist, author, and television and film personality, has died. She was 85.
Brothers died Monday of respiratory failure in New York City, according to her longtime Los Angeles-based publicist, Sanford Brokaw.
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.
The quiz show scandal of 1958-59 was one of the biggest scandals in the history of television. It erupted in 1958 when it was revealed that quiz show producers had been rigging the outcome of some shows, including “The $64,000 Question,” by giving favored contestants the answers in advance.
Brothers was one of a number of big winners who told an Associated Press survey in November 1959 that they knew nothing of any cheating.
At a House hearing that month, associate producer Mort Koplin also said Brothers was among those not involved in cheating.
According to the testimony, Brothers applied to be a “64,000 Question” contestant as an expert in home economics and psychology. The producers, looking for an audience-pleasing oddity, suggested the pretty young woman try boxing as her specialty. She learned the subject so well, Koplin said, she kept on winning even after the producers “threw the book” at her with tough questions aimed at eliminating her.
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 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 Lisa Brothers Arbisser, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.