The Game Show Contestant Revlon Wanted To Get Rid of Because She Didn’t Wear Makeup

In 1955, Dr. Joyce Brothers was a contestant on the game show The $64,000 Question. As the story goes, the 28-year-old new mother and qualified psychologist applied for the show to help boost her family’s income and escape the “slum-like conditions” of her New York City apartment. Her husband was reportedly earning $50 a month as a medical intern at a New York hospital and Joyce had stepped away from her teaching roles at Hunter College and Columbia University to look after the couple’s newborn daughter. Joyce had fulfilled the entry brief of writing a letter offering a description of herself, her hobbies, why she would make a good contestant, and what she would do with the prize money if she won. She revealed her qualifications in psychology and home economics, but because the show didn’t allow contestants to answer questions on subjects connected to their profession, Joyce would need to select a category to be quizzed on, and she chose boxing. She reportedly memorized 20 volumes of a boxing encyclopedia, read magazine articles, and studied with boxing writer Nat Fleischer and former Olympic boxing champion Edward Egan. However, before she could be interviewed Revlon began to pressure the show’s producers to get rid of her because she didn’t wear makeup. They were, after all, sponsoring the show and airing commercials about makeup. CBS and executive producer Steve Carlin refused to meet the makeup giant's demands, and Joyce Brothers went on the show. When she made it to the $16,000 question round, not even questions focusing on boxing referees tripped her up. She would return a week later and win $32,000 before returning for yet another week to take home the $64,000 prize money. In today's money, that's $668,289. In the early 1960s, Joyce was given her own television hosting role which allowed her to use her psychology skills to offer advice on love, marriage and parenting. She also wrote a daily column for Good Housekeeping for almost 40 years. Dr. Joyce Brothers died of respiratory failure in 2013 at the age of 83.