​Ode to Joy


The inventor of the Miracle Mop and other handy items hasn't stopped cleaning up.

CBS News

Joy Mangano is the inspiration for a movie that's been cleaning up at the box office. Bill Geist has her story:

A film with no romance, no explosions, no outer space ... "Joy" is a movie about a mop.

But not just any mop -- the Miracle Mop!

The title character is played, miraculously, by Jennifer Lawrence, who this past week received both an Oscar nominationan and a Best Actress Award at the Golden Globes, where she thanked someone special: Joy Mangano, the real-life Joy, whose life story is told in this mostly-true modern-day Cinderella tale.

"I get a phone call and they said, 'We are gonna make a movie about your life story,'" Mangano recalled. "And shortly thereafter they said, 'David O. Russell is on the phone to talk to you,' and I'm thinking, Oh my gosh, this is really happening!When is a mop the star of a movie?"

"The first thing that struck me was the unlikeliness," Russell said. "It's not a flashy story. The fact that we did something about an ordinary person from an ordinary town who created ordinary items that people love, and it's about her soul and about her empowerment, that was the dare we took."

In 1990 Joy was a down-and-out Long Island single mother raising three kids. She scrounged some seed money and began making mops in her father's garage.

Joy Mangano demonstrates the many uses of the miracle Mop to correspondent Bill Geist. CBS News

As seen in the movie, Joy tried to sell her mops anywhere imaginable. She finally got a shopping network executive (played by Bradley Cooper) interested in selling her mops on TV.

But the network didn't want Joy to sell them ("We don't have regular people; we have celebrities and spokesmodels do the selling," said Cooper's exec).

She convinced QVC to put her on the air, and Joy sold 18,000 mops in 20 minutes. The rest is TV shopping history.

But wait -- there's more!

Somehow Joy Mangano to know what we need before we do. She holds more than a hundred patents on helpful household items, and in 2000 she introduced the Huggable Hanger, a product that did have its doubters. "Everybody said, 'A hanger's a hanger a hanger,'" Mangano said. "Not the case."