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Joey Bishop
Bishop in 1967.
Born Joseph Abraham Gottlieb
(1918-02-03)February 3, 1918
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Died October 17, 2007(2007-10-17) (aged 89)
Newport Beach, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1948-1996
Home town Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Spouse(s) Sylvia Ruzga (1941–1999; her death; 1 child)
Children Larry Bishop

Joseph Abraham Gottlieb (February 3, 1918 – October 17, 2007), known professionally as Joey Bishop, was an American entertainer who appeared on television as early as 1948 and eventually starred in his own weekly comedy series playing a talk show host, then later hosted a late night talk show with Regis Philbin on ABC. He later became a member of the "Rat Pack" with Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Dean Martin.[1]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Bishop, the youngest of five children, was born in The Bronx, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants Anna (Siegel) and Jacob Gottlieb.[1][2][3] His father was a bicycle repairman.[4] Bishop was raised in South Philadelphia.[4] In 1941, Bishop married Sylvia Ruzga, who died in 1999 from lung cancer. They had one son, Larry Bishop, a film director and actor. Drafted into the US Army in World War II, he rose to sergeant in the Special Services serving at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.[5]

Career[edit | edit source]

Ocean's Eleven with Buddy Lester, Bishop, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin

Bishop began his career as part of a stand-up comedy act with his elder brother, Maury. He appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on May 28, 1950, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show on April 19, 1957, and many other variety programs in the early days of television. He guest-hosted The Tonight Show substituting for Jack Paar, and then guest-hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson at least 175 times in the 1960s, prior to having his own late night show, and from 1971–76, more than anyone else until that time (Jay Leno and Joan Rivers later surpassed his record). He also frequently appeared on Steve Allen's and Jack Paar's previous versions of The Tonight Show.

Appearing on

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson]], 1975]]

He starred in a situation comedy titled The Joey Bishop Show, which premiered on September 20, 1961, and ran for four seasons, first on NBC and later CBS. Bishop played a talk show host named Joey Barnes. His wife was portrayed by Abby Dalton, who joined the cast in 1962.

He later hosted a 90-minute late-night talk show, also titled The Joey Bishop Show, that was launched by ABC on April 17, 1967, as competition to Carson's Tonight Show and ran until December 26, 1969. His sidekick was then-newcomer Regis Philbin.

Bishop was among the stars of the original Ocean's 11 film about military veterans who reunite in a plot to rob five Las Vegas casinos on New Year's Eve. He co-starred with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter Lawford of the so-called Rat Pack, although the five of them did not publicly acknowledge that name. During filming, the five entertainers performed together on stage in Vegas at the Sands Hotel. Bishop did only a little singing and dancing, but he told jokes and wrote most of the act's material. He later appeared with Sinatra, Martin, Davis, and Lawford in the military adventure Sergeants 3, a loose remake of Gunga Din, and with Martin in the western comedy Texas Across the River, in which he portrayed an Indian.

Bishop was the only member of the Rat Pack to work with members of a younger group of actors dubbed the Brat Pack, appearing (as a ghost) in the 1990 film Betsy's Wedding with Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy.

His final appearance in a film was a non-speaking role in Mad Dog Time, written and directed by his son Larry. His character was named Gottlieb, which was Bishop's real surname.

Bishop was portrayed by Bobby Slayton in the 1998 HBO film The Rat Pack.

Death[edit | edit source]

Bishop's wife of 58 years, Sylvia died of cancer in 1999. Thereafter, Bishop was in failing health for some time, and died of multiple organ failure on October 17, 2007, at his Lido Isle home, which is a man-made island located in the harbor of Newport Beach, California.[1] He was 89. He was survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Larry and Tania, two grandsons, Kirk and Scott, and a longtime companion Nora Garibotti. At the time of his death, Bishop was the longest-lived and the last surviving member of the Rat Pack, as well as the only member to survive into the 21st century. Per his request Joey Bishop was cremated, and scattered in the Pacific Ocean near his home.

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia posthumously inducted Bishop into their Hall of Fame in 2009.[6]

Filmography[edit | edit source]

Television work[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Richard Severo (October 19, 2007). "Joey Bishop, 'Rat Pack' Comic, Dies at 89". https://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/19/arts/18cnd-bishop.html. Retrieved 2010-05-06. "Joey Bishop, the long-faced comedian and the last surviving member of the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra’s celebrated retinue of the 1960’s, died Wednesday night at his home in Newport Beach, Calif. He was 89. His death was of multiple causes, said his longtime publicist, Warren Cowan. ..." 
  2. McLellan, Dennis (2007-10-18). "Joey Bishop, 89; comedian was last surviving member of Rat Pack". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2007-11-06. https://web.archive.org/web/20071106024757/http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/celebrity/la-me-bishop19oct19%2C1%2C5721549.story?coll=la-celebrity-news. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  3. H.W. Wilson Company (1955). Current Biography Yearbook. H. W. Wilson. pp. 41. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Schoifet, Mark (2007-10-18). "Joey Bishop, Last Member of `Rat Pack,' Dies at 89". Bloomberg. https://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aCdrShHcaLqs&refer=us. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  5. "Joey Bishop". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2007-10-20. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1566737/Joey-Bishop.html. 
  6. "Our Hall of Fame 2009". Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. http://broadcastpioneers.com. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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