Born on October 7, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York, Joy Behar gave up her teaching career to pursue her dream of a career in comedy. Working her way up through the ranks of comedy clubs such as Caroline's and Catch a Rising Star, Behar eventually landed a co-hosting spot on the popular talk show The View. She then hosted her own show, The Joy Behar Show (which later became Joy Behar: Say Anything!). In March 2013, Behar announced that she would be leaving The View following the '13 season, after 16 years on the series.
Early Life and Career
Famed comedian and talk show host Joy Behar was born on October 7, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Queens College and the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a master's degree in English education, Behar began working as a junior high school English teacher in 1968.
After nearly dying from an ectopic pregnancy in 1979, Behar decided to pursue her dream of a career in comedy, quitting her teaching job and getting a receptionist position at Good Morning America in hopes of being discovered.
Comedy Career Begins
In 1980, Behar began performing her comedy routine at various New York City nightclubs. A year later, she and her husband, college professor Joe Behar, divorced; she received custody of the couple's then-10-year-old daughter, Eve. Behar began earning increasingly positive reviews for her routines at such prominent clubs as Caroline's and Catch a Rising Star, and in 1987, she landed her own Lifetime variety series, Way Off Broadway, which ran for only one season.
Behar continued to support herself and her daughter with her comedic work throughout the next decade, touring comedy clubs, appearing in films (notably 1989's Cookie with Peter Falk, Nora Ephron's This is My Life in 1992, and Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery in 1993) and on television (the 1988 series Baby Boom), and hosting a popular call-in radio show on New York's WABC. She has also appeared on the New York stage, in the off-Broadway hit The Food Chain and as part of the rotating all-star cast of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.
In 1997, Behar won a co-hosting gig on the new ABC daily morning talk show The View, launched by television newswoman Barbara Walters. Three days a week, Behar joined co-hosts Star Jones, Meredith Vieira and Debbie Matenopolous (later replaced by Lisa Ling) for the show's mixture of celebrity interviews and chat sessions; Walters appeared on the other two days.
With its unusual hosting format (five women from varied backgrounds and generations), The View quickly gained popularity among TV viewers and critics, earning several Emmy Award nominations for outstanding daytime talk show. Behar and her co-hosts also earned Emmy nods for outstanding talk show host.
In the spring of 2013, a 70-year-old Behar announced that she would be leaving The View following the '13 season, after 16 years on the legendary series. Behar was the last of the show's original hosts to depart. "I need a different kind of life," she told TV Guide. "I have so many other things to do! I want to write, do stand-up, maybe do Broadway, do acting roles and live my life without this daily regimen. I'm done! It's scary that 16 years have passed."
In 2000, Behar published a non-fiction book, Joy Shtick: or What Is the Existential Vacuum and Does It Come with Attachments?. In October 2001, she launched a monthly advice column, "Tell Me About It," in Good Housekeeping magazine.
In 2009, Behar announced that she would be hosting her own talk show/news program, The Joy Behar Show, in addition to her role on The View. Airing on HLN until 2011, the series was revamped in 2012 as Joy Behar: Say Anything! on Current TV, but was canceled after just one season.
Back to 'The View'
In August 2015 Behar announced her return to The View for its 19th season.
"Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in," Behar said in a statement. "Plus, [husband Steve Janowitz] was getting tired of applauding every time I gave my opinion. But I'm happy to be back home. And I'm looking forward to sticking my two cents into the hot topics, especially now that Hillary and the Donald are in the spotlight."
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