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Josephina Victoria "Joy" Behar (née Occhiuto; born October 7, 1942) is an American comedian, writer, actress, and a co-host of the talk show The View. Behar began hosting her own news and commentary program in the fall of 2009, titled The Joy Behar Show on CNN's sister network, HLN.

Personal life

Behar, an Italian-American was born Josephina Victoria Occhiuto in Williamsburg, Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker on October 7, 1942. Her mother, Rose, was a seamstress, and her father, Gino Occhiuto, was a truck driver. She married Joe Behar in January 1965; they divorced in 1981. They have one daughter, Eve. Joy Behar and her partner, Steve Janowitz, whom she refers to as her "spousal equivalent," have been together since the mid-1980s. On March 17, 2009, Behar announced that she might eventually marry Steve, but that the probability is small.

Behar holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Queens College, and a Master of Arts degree in English education from the State University of New York at Stony Brookmarker. Behar resides in Manhattan.

The View

Following years as a stand-up comedian (particularly in New Yorkmarker) and WABC radio talk show host, Behar became one of the original cast members of Barbara Walters's ABC television creation, The View, in 1997. Originally, Behar appeared only on the days when Walters was away from the show; soon Behar became a regular co-host, with the panel expanding to five when Walters joined in. Behar often hosts a segment called "Joy's Comedy Corner" in which she presents up-and-coming comedians. Behar typically joins Goldberg in representing the liberal position on The View.

Star Jones, former co-host on The View, and Behar had well-publicized disputes. On March 27, 2006, Star Jones called in to the show to discuss a recent operation that she had undergone. After talking with the show's co-hosts, Behar abruptly stated to Jones, "OK, Star. That's enough about you. On to us. Bye. Keep your [breasts] perky!" Jones then responded, "Even today, you [Behar] are still a bitch."

In August 2009 Behar, alongside her co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, Barbara Walters and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, won the 36th Annual Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Talk Show Host. It follows over a decade of nominations for The View. None of the co-hosts of the show were in Los Angelesmarker to collect the award, following some shock that The View had for the first time not been nominated for Outstanding Talk Show as well.

Other work

Behar has appeared in a number of films including Cookie and This Is My Life. One of her few TV acting roles was in the 1988–89 TV series adaptation of the movie Baby Boom. She fulfilled a lifelong dream of acting in a movie with Woody Allen when she appeared in Manhattan Murder Mystery. Behar has also made theater appearances in The Food Chain and The Vagina Monologues. Behar wrote a book of humorous essays and stories called Joy Shtick — Or What is the Existential Vacuum and Does It Come with Attachments?, published in 1999. She has also written a children's book called Sheetzucacapoopoo: My Kind of Dog, published in 2006.

In 2003, Behar became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig. She lost 23 pounds in 11 weeks on the program, though she no longer is a spokesperson for the company.

Behar frequently incorporates her Italian-American culture into her comedy and once told Charlie Rose on his PBS program that her grandmother kept a picture of Mussolini in her home. Juxtaposed with that was another joke that the name Behar "sounds Jewish," so much so that she had trouble convincing her own mother otherwise. She is mistakenly thought to be Jewish, and has quipped that she is pleased to be "an honorary Shiksa non-grata."

Behar appeared on the eighth season of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown and finished in fourth place, behind Robin Tunney, Christopher Meloni and Macy Gray, but ahead of Andy Dick. She played for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

Beginning in 2007, she has occasionally filled in as a guest host on Larry King Live.

On June 11, 2009, Behar announced that she will be hosting her own news program in the fall of 2009, self titled The Joy Behar Show. She will not be leaving The View, but will be doing both shows.

Criticism and controversy

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in an open letter to Behar, admonished her description of then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as "Hitler-like", noting that "Hitler's actions during the Second World War and his responsibility for the Holocaust have no parallel in history." The ADL described Behar's comparison as "inappropriate and offensive," noting that Hitler's name should not be "taken out of context or used for personal attacks or vendettas."

Behar has also drawn criticism numerous times from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Catholic League president William A. Donohue remarked that Behar, who was raised a Roman Catholic, "is no stranger to Catholic bashing," pointing to her statement, "Don't you remember when you went to Communion? 'In vino veritas.' The priests were all drunk, don't you remember?" The Catholic League maintains, "There is an anti-Catholic animus evident among the panelists on The View, with Rosie O'Donnell and Joy Behar being the worst offenders."

Awards and Nominations

Daytime Emmy Award
  • 1998 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host (The View)
  • 1999 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host (The View)
  • 2000 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host (The View)
  • 2001 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host (The View)
  • 2002 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host (The View)
  • 2003 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host (The View)
  • 2004 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host (The View)
  • 2005 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host (The View)
  • 2006 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host (The View)
  • 2007 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host (The View)
  • 2008 Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host(s) (The View)
  • 2009 Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host(s) (The View)


  1. Behar turned 67 in October 2009, according to
  3. Q&A with Joy Behar Retrieved 25/02/08.
  4. Joy Behar Biography (-)
  5. Joy Behar May Marry Boyfriend People, March 17, 2009
  6. Star, Joy Bleeped, Cut Off in On-Air Fight on 'View'
  7. Bold wins at Daytime Emmy Awards, Los Angeles Times
  8. ADL letter
  9. Catholic League news release

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