Dr. Joyce Brothers, Pioneering TV Psychologist and One of the Early Masters of the TV Sound Bite, Dead at 85

May 14, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Dr. Joyce Brothers, a popular psychologist who became a fixture on television handing out words of wisdom in one-line sound bites, has died. The New York Times reports that Brothers died Monday at 85.

In addition to serving up advice on her own syndicated television shows such as "The Dr. Joyce Brothers Show," Brothers wrote a newspaper advice column from 1960 until this year. She is credited with a string of quotes that are part of popular culture, such as: “When you come right down to it, the secret of having it all is loving it all.” And: “No matter how lovesick a woman is, she shouldn’t take the first pill that comes along.”

Brothers was a frequent guest on many TV shows, including "The Tonight Show" and variety programs such as "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour."

"Throughout the 1960s, and long beyond, one could scarcely turn on the television or open a newspaper without encountering her," The Times notes. The piece adds, "Historically, she was a bridge between advice columnists like Dear Abby and Ann Landers, who got their start in the mid-1950s, and the self-help advocates of the 1970s and afterward."

Playing herself or a role that was similar to her real-life persona, she appeared in guest roles on TV shows such as "Taxi" and "The Simpsons."

The Times notes: "Looking crisply capable yet eminently approachable in her pastel suits and pale blond pageboy, she offered gentle, nonthreatening advice on sex, relationships, family and all manner of decent behavior."

Brothers came to the public’s attention in the 1950s as a contestant on "The $64,000 Question," where she won as an authority on boxing, the piece reports. She appeared on the show because she wanted to supplement her and her husband’s income, and noted that the quiz show liked odd matches, such as the shoe-maker who was an expert on opera.

"What, she decided, would be more improbable than a petite psychologist who was a pundit of pugilism?" the story says. She became the first woman to win the top prize, $64,000.

That led to an invitation to become a commentator on a sports program, which led to more TV appearances. Soon, she was a TV star.

Here are some additional quotes attributed to Brothers:

“Marriage is not just spiritual communion, it is also remembering to take out the trash.”

“There is such a thing as bad publicity.”

“Trust your hunches. They’re usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.”

“Credit buying is much like being drunk. The buzz happens immediately and gives you a lift. … The hangover comes the day after.”

“Psychologically, having it all is not a valid concept. The marvelous thing about human beings is that we are perpetually reaching for the stars. The more we have, the more we want. And for this reason, we never have it all.”

“Being taken for granted can be a compliment. It means that you’ve become a comfortable, trusted element in another person’s life.”

“Before your dreams can come true, you have to have those dreams.”

“Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.”

joyce-brothers.jpgDr. Joyce Brothers

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