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R.I.P., Dr. Joyce Brothers, the TV shrink who inspired an industry

Dr.Joyce Brothers in the studio of her direct line radio show sometime in the 1960s. (AP) Dr. Joyce Brothers in the studio of her direct line radio show sometime in the 1960s. (AP)



“I invented media psychology. I was the first. The founding mother.”


Dr. Joyce Brothers summing up her unusual cultural significance for The Washington Post. A petite young psychology PhD who famously nailed “The $64,000 Question” on boxing at the height of 1950s quiz-show mania, Brothers went on to a career as the go-to multimedia shrink, holding forth on other people’s problems on a series of TV and radio shows and syndicated columns. A sympathetic presence and plain-spoken communicator, she opened the door for not only Dr. Ruth and Dr. Phil but an entire generation of talk show giant (Phil Donahue, Oprah) with a gift for getting inside your head and letting you know it’s okay to cry. (Also: Today’s army of cable-news experts always ready to weigh in on subjects they’ve only observed from afar.) She died Monday at her home in New Jersey at the age of 85, and her uniquely mid-century Americana life makes for a nice obituary: Dr. Joyce Brothers, 85; TV psychologist and columnist

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