Joyce Brothers used her unlikely success as a game show contestant to launch her career as one of the best-known media psychologists in America. Brothers earned her PhD in psychology in 1953 from Columbia University, but chose to stay home to raise her daughter. Because this meant the family was surviving on $50 per month from her husband’s medical residency, Brothers tried out for the game show $64,000 Question, winning based on her surprising knowledge of boxing. She went on to win the successor program as well, $64,000 Challenge. In 1958, NBC offered Brothers her own talk show, counseling people on love, marriage, childrearing, and sex. The show was an instant success, with Brothers adding a late-night show and a syndicated magazine column to her lineup. While Brothers was sometimes criticized by psychologists for offering advice to patients she didn’t know, many praised her for raising awareness about issues and helping people realize that others shared their problems. With her open, unruffled manner and comfortability with a wide range of taboo topics like impotence, menopause, and sexuality, she helped make it more acceptable for people to seek psychological help.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Joyce Brothers." (Viewed on December 7, 2016) <https://jwa.org/people/brothers-joyce>.