Birthday: October 7, 1942
Age: 78 Years, 78 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Josephine Victoria Occhiuto
Born in: New York City
Famous as: Comedian
Height: 5'6" (168 cm), 5'6" Females
Spouse/Ex-: Steve Janowitz (m. 2011), Joseph Behar (m. 1965–1981)
father: Gino Occhiuto
mother: Rose Carbone
children: Eve Behar
Notable Alumni: City University Of New York (CUNY) System
City: New York City
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: Queens College, City University of New York, Washington Irving High School, Stony Brook University
Joy Behar is a noted American comedian, actress, talk show host and writer. She has hosted several talk shows on TV, namely, 'The View', 'The Joy Behar Show', 'Joy Behar: Say Anything!' and 'Late Night Joy'. She was a high school English teacher before joining the showbiz. After a near fatal ectopic pregnancy at the age of 37, she became a receptionist at ‘Good Morning America’ in hopes of getting a bigger role. Concurrently, she started presenting comedy routines in small clubs in New York, before getting a foothold in more well-known clubs. She was creating quite a buzz on the comedy scene in New York and by the age 44, she started appearing on television. A year later, she got her own show called, ‘Way Off Broadway’. Soon, she was appearing in small roles in TV series, films and Broadway shows. Behar became a household name in 1997 when she started co-hosting ‘The View’, a role she continues to play even today. Simultaneously, she hosts her own shows and has published five books.
Childhood & Early Years
Joy Behar was born as Josephine Occhiuto on 7 October 1942, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York into a family of Italian-American descent. Her father, Gino Occhiuto, was a truck driver at the Coca-Cola Company, while her mother Rose Occhiuto née Carbone was a seamstress.
Although Behar was her parents’ only child, she was raised in the middle of a very large extended family in Williamsburg. She had a very happy childhood, showing an aptitude for comedy since the age of two.
Another important aspect of her upbringing was that her parents had a very refined taste in spite of belonging to the working class. She regularly visited theatres, operas and museums with them; which resulted in her developing a polished taste from her childhood.
Behar did her schooling at Washington Irving High School (later renamed, Washington Irving Campus). Thereafter, she studied Sociology at Queens College, City University of New York.
In 1964, she graduated from Queens College and enrolled at the Stony Brook University for a master’s degree in English. She got married to Joe Behar in 1965, while she was still studying for her master’s.
After earning her M.A. in 1966, Josephine Behar settled down to a domestic life at Centereach in Long Island while her husband continued to work for his PhD at Stony Brook. But raised as a ’city girl’, she found it hard to adjust to the Centereach life, and felt like a fish out of water.
In 1968, Behar started working as an English teacher at Lindenhurst Senior High School. Although she never enjoyed teaching, she continued to hold a series of academic posts until 1979. Towards the end of this period, she taught college students who were drafted during the Vietnam War.
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Joining the Showbiz
Joy Behar quit her teaching job when she nearly died from an ectopic pregnancy in 1979. She decided to try her luck in the television industry, and establish herself as a comedian. But she knew that was not easy as she did not have a mentor.
Help came from her husband’s cousin, who was working as the lighting director of ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ at that time. She joined the show as a receptionist and worked for two years before being promoted to the post of an assistant producer.
Apart from working for GMA, Behar began to present comedy routines at various night clubs in New York City. In 1981, she divorced her husband and won the custody of their young daughter. She began to support herself and her daughter by performing comedy routines.
In 1983, she lost her job at GMA, which affected her very badly. When she saw a therapist, she was told that ''without a straight job, all obstacles disappear”. Heeding the advice, she went straight into show business, initially performing at small clubs in the Greenwich Village.
Very soon, she began to perform at prominent clubs, such as Caroline's and ‘Catch a Rising Star’, earning good reviews for her acts there. Her comedy skits during this period were based as much on her family, as on the current political and social issues. Women’s issues and gender inequality also found place in her routines.
In 1984, she took part in ‘The New Show’, which ran briefly on NBC. Later that year, she was back on ‘Good Morning America’; this time as a guest star.
In 1987, Behar got her own talk show, ‘Way Off Broadway,’ on Lifetime Television; but it ran for only one season. In the same year, she was a host on ‘Live from Queens’. Concurrently, she continued to perform at comedy clubs. Slowly other opportunities began to come her way.
In 1988, she played the role of Helga Von Haupt in ‘Baby Boom’, a popular NBC sitcom series. In 1989, she appeared as Dottie in the comedy film, ‘Cookie’. Meanwhile, she continued to host a popular call-in radio show on New York's WABC and appeared on HBO comedy specials, ‘One Night Stand’.
Her popularity continued to grow in early 1990s, and she was cast in Nora Ephron's film, ‘This is My Life’ (1992) and Woody Allen's ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery’ (1994). During this period, she also debuted on stage, appearing in the off-Broadway hits like ‘The Food Chain’ (1995) and ‘The Vagina Monologues’ (1996).
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In 1996, she appeared as Joy in two episodes of ‘Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist’ and as Mary in the romantic comedy film, ‘Love Is All There Is’.
Joy Behar was asked to perform a 10-minute comedy routine on the occasion of actor Milton Berle’s 89th birthday in 1997. Although it was not a paid gig, she agreed to do it in the hope of getting more jobs.
While performing the comedy routine at Waldorf-Astoria, she was noticed by Barbara Walters, a well-known broadcast journalist, author, and television personality. The encounter resulted in Behar’s selection as an original panel member of ‘The View’, a daytime talk show that was to be aired on ABC from August 11, 1997.
Initially, she appeared on ‘The View’ thrice a week, hosting celebrity interviews as well as chat shows. Her original co-hosts were Star Jones, Meredith Vieira and Debbie Matenopolous. Eventually, Behar started co-hosting the show five days a week, replacing Walters, who had been hosting it twice a week.
She left ‘The View’ after sixteen years of service, presenting her last show in August 2013. However, she continued to appear on the show as a guest co-host throughout 2014 and 2015. She returned as a regular co-host for its 19th season in September 2015 and continues to do so up until now.
Joy Behar authored her first book titled, ‘Joy Shtick: or What Is the Existential Vacuum and Does It Come with Attachments?’ in May 1999.
From October 2001, she started writing a monthly advice column called, "Tell Me About It," in Good Housekeeping magazine. Also in the same year, she provided the voice for ‘42’ in 'Buzz Lightyear of Star Command', an animated science fiction-adventure-comedy series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation.
In 2006, she published her second book, ‘Sheetzu Caca Poopoo: My Kind of Dog’. A year later, she wrote her third book, ‘When You Need a Lift: But Don't Want to Eat Chocolate, Pay a Shrink, or Drink a Bottle of Gin’.
Also in 2007, Behar started appearing as a guest host on ‘Larry King Live’. Meanwhile, she continued to work on her fourth book, ‘Sheetzucacapoopoo 2: Max Goes to the Dogs,’ which was released in 2009.
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Apart from presenting ‘The View’, she began hosting her own news and talk show, ‘The Joy Behar Show,’ on CNN's HLN in the fall of 2009. Although it was highly popular, the network cancelled it after two years. The final episode was aired on December 15, 2011.
In 2011, Behar returned to films, appearing as Dr. Lucille "Lucy" Gilbert in movie, ‘Hall Pass’. In 2012, she was the voice of Eunice in ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’, a 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios.
From September 4, 2012, she began hosting another news and talk show, ‘Joy Behar: Say Anything’, on the Central TV Network. The show stopped airing on August 1, 2013 as the network was taken over by Al Jazeera America.
In 2015, Behar started hosting another show, ‘Late Night Joy’, a half an hour weekly series that ran for five episodes on TLC. The last episode aired on November 29.
In 2016, she appeared as Ann in three episodes of ‘Crisis in Six Scenes’, a television mini-series written and directed by Woody Allen. Her most recent book titled, ‘The Great Gasbag: An A-Z Study Guide to Surviving Trump World’, was published in October 2017.
Behar is best known for co-hosting ‘The View’. Although the program is co-hosted by a multi-generational panel of women, Behar is possibly its most prominent member, giving 16 years of uninterrupted service before temporarily retiring in 2013. She returned to the show in 2015 and continues to co-host it till date.
Family & Personal Life
Joy Behar married Joseph Behar in 1965 and set up her home in Long Island. They have a daughter named Eve Behar, born on November 26, 1970. The couple divorced in 1981 and Joy Behar received her daughter’s custody. She now has a grandson called, Luca, born in 2011.
In 1982, Behar began a long term relationship with Steve Janowitz, a school teacher, calling him her ‘spousal equivalent’. In 2009, they decided to get married; but called off their engagement sometime later. They finally got married on August 11, 2011, after living together for 29 years.
In June 2016, she was inducted into the Brooklyn Walk of Fame at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.