Joy Behar

On this date in 1942, outspoken television host, comedian, actress and author Joy Behar (née Josephina Victoria Occhiuto) was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. Behar earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Queens College (graduating in 1964) and a master's in English education from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (1966). She taught high school English in Long Island, N.Y., in the late 1960s and early 1970s before becoming a stand-up comedian and radio talk show host. She appeared in "Manhattan Murder Mystery" with Woody Allen in 1993. Behar is perhaps best known as an original cast member of the hit daytime show "The View." "The View," which began in 1997, has been nominated for Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show almost every year since its creation. Behar and her cohosts won in 2009. A book of her humorous essays, Joy Shtick — Or What is the Existential Vacuum and Does it Come with Attachments?, was published in 1999. Her children's book, Sheetzucacapoopoo: My Kind of Dog, was published in 2006. She was a frequent guest host on CNN's "Larry King Live" from 2007-2009. In 2009, she launched her own evening talk show, "The Joy Behar Show," on CNN's HLN network. Behar has one daughter, Eve, from her first marriage to Joe Behar (1965-1981). She has been with partner Steve Janowitz since 1982. While Behar was raised Catholic, she now identifies as agnostic. She jokingly said she lost her faith when she "went to the Commie school Queens College." She told Father Edward Beck on an ABC News "Focus on Faith" interview: "I'm sustained by my family, my life, my brain. But I don't believe there's an afterlife." (March 17, 2011). In the same interview, she said: "I never gave her [my daughter] any religion, because I felt that I was brainwashed. . . . This is what I didn't want my daughter to have. So that's why I didn't want her to go to Catholic school or learn any of that."

"I'm pathetically pragmatic. . . . I don't believe that there's a higher power that created human beings."

—Joy Behar in an interview with Father Edward Beck on ABC News, "Focus on Faith," March 17, 2011

Compiled by Bonnie Gutsch; Photo by stocklight /

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