Dr. Joyce Brothers (1927 – 2013): Psychologist, Media Personality, Defender of Dungeons & Dragons

Joyce Brothers 1980

I remember Dr. Brothers mostly for her witty cameos on various TV shows of the day, including The Love Boat, WKRP, and Happy Days, as well as her many appearances on The Tonight Show and several game shows.

But she was a real psychologist (with a Ph.D. from Columbia)—the first to use mass media to tackle everything from sex to suicide—and hosted several advice/discussion shows from the late 1950s through the ’70s. She died, at age 85, on May 13. (Read her obituary at the New York Times.)

The photo above, courtesy of Jon Peterson, shows Brothers in a 1980 TV appearance promoting the TSR board game Fantasy Forest.

Fantasy Forest

At a time when D&D and role-playing were decried as tools of Satan, Brothers defended the practice and D&D in particular. In a 1984 radio interview with Neil McKenty, Brothers describes herself as a “consultant for TSR” and applauds D&D for being a “cooperative game” in which “everybody works together to overcome obstacles.”

Playing the game, she says, is a mentally healthy activity that demands intelligence, expands the imagination, and promotes joy. She even mentions Gary Gygax by name!

Brothers gave serious advice about touchy subjects and was a brilliant woman (an expert on boxing, among other things) who realized that taking herself too seriously would put off the people who needed help the most.

Lawful good human clerics can’t do much better than that.

3 Responses to “Dr. Joyce Brothers (1927 – 2013): Psychologist, Media Personality, Defender of <em>Dungeons & Dragons</em>”


  1. 2 leftylimbo May 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Whoa! Fantasy Forest? Never seen that! I like the “kiddy” type of fun graphics and smiling faces they put on the cover for a more friendly approach. Little do they know that an Eye of the Beholder awaits them just beyond the bend. Fav fiend, btw. 😉


  1. 1 Star Frontiers and Mr. T Doll Commercials (1983) | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on November 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm

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