Discuss as:

Dr. Joyce Brothers dead at 85


Talya C. Arbisser

Dr. Joyce Brothers.

Popular television psychologist and columnist Joyce Brothers passed away at her home in Fort Lee, New Jersey on Monday, her family confirmed to NBC News. She was 85.

Brothers died peacefully, surrounded by family, according to an obituary written by her family and provided to NBC News.

Dr. Joyce Brothers, known as the first psychologist of the television era, appeared for decades as a talk show regular. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

She was born on October 20, 1927 in New York City and married physician Milton Brothers in 1949.

Her career spanned nearly six decades after her start in 1955 as the only woman to ever win the television quiz show “The $64,000 Question.”

And in 1958 she was offered a trial television show on NBC where she doled out advice on personal problems ranging from love, marriage and raising a family. The show took off and she gained fame by diving into subjects that at the time were seen as too taboo to speak about publicly.

Her television show would soon make her a pop culture fixture.  She made nearly 100 appearances on Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show.” Her frequent public appearances propelled her to become one of the most admired women in America, appearing on Gallup’s list of most admired American women.

Her syndicated column appeared in more than 350 newspapers.

But Brothers’ status as a “media psychologist” was sometimes cause for critique by other members of her profession. Some in her field called it unprofessional to diagnose patients on the spot without knowing their backgrounds, but she responded by saying that she always would advise people to seek professional help when needed.

Brothers is survived by her sister, Judge Elaine Goldsmith (retired) of Somerville, New Jersey, her daughter Dr. Lisa Brothers Arbisser, and son-in-law Dr. Amir Arbisser, of Davenport, Iowa and Sarasota, Florida, four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren.