In 1958 "The Dr. Joyce Brothers Show" debuted on NBC's New York affiliate. The afternoon talk show dispensed advice on child rearing, love, marriage and sex. An instant hit, it was soon airing nationally.

Moving to late-night TV in the early 1960s allowed Brothers to speak more frankly. The program ran for five years, one of a number of her advice shows that aired over the ensuing decades on television and radio.

She also wrote a syndicated column that appeared in about 350 daily newspapers and was a frequent, often cheeky guest on television talk and game shows.

At first, fellow psychologists complained that Brothers' analysis only skimmed the surface, and many believed that sharing psychological advice outside the office was inappropriate, according to the American Psychology Assn.

But over time psychologists found value in the fact that she had introduced many people to their profession and had connected it to the term "doctor," former association President Frank Farley said in 2011 in the organization's Monitor on Psychology magazine.

Brothers was also game to send up her image as the brainy yet frank and chatty psychologist, often making cameo appearances on TV and in such films as "The King of Comedy" (1983) and "Analyze That" (2002).

When asked why the public was hungry for personal advice from a public person, she proposed that an increasingly mobile society had heightened feelings of isolation.

"There is a lot more searching for answers these days," Brothers told the Washington Post in 1979. "And a lot more answers too. But we're missing friends and kinship roles. So you rent a friend. Like Dr. Joyce Brothers."

Joyce Diane Bauer was born Oct. 29, 1927, in New York City to Morris and Estelle Bauer, lawyers who practiced together and raised their two children on Long Island. Her younger sister, Elaine, became a lawyer and judge.

While earning her bachelor's degree in home economics from Cornell University, Brothers developed an interest in psychology. She graduated at 19 in 1947.

At Columbia, she studied psychology, earning a master's degree in 1950 and a doctorate three years later. She wrote her dissertation on anxiety avoidance and escape behavior.

While vacationing in the Catskill Mountains, she met Milton Brothers. They married in 1949 and eventually split their time between Fort Lee, N.J., and a farm in New York State. She had stopped teaching to stay home with their young daughter when she decided to try to make extra cash as a game-show contestant.

Her husband became an internist who specialized in treating diabetes but "smoked like a furnace … a continual bone of contention between us," Brothers later wrote. He died of cancer at 62 in 1989.

Unprepared for the profound grief she experienced, Brothers wrote a 1990 book about it, "Widowhood," which recounted her journey back to a productive life. It was the most personal, and most popular, of her 10 books, according to the reference "Jewish Women in America."

Later in life, she often took the family of her only child — Dr. Lisa Brothers Arbisser, an ophthalmologist in Iowa — on "adventures" or indulged in separate trips with each of her four grandchildren. They survive Brothers, as do two great-grandchildren and her sister, Elaine Goldsmith.

One demographic that did not seek her advice was her own family.

"She totally loses her objectivity," her husband told UPI in 1985. "With her family, she's abysmal."