Joey Bishop

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Joey Bishop
Joey Bishop 1967.JPG
Bishop in 1967
Joseph Abraham Gottlieb

(1918-02-03)February 3, 1918
DiedOctober 17, 2007(2007-10-17) (aged 89)
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • talk show host
Years active1948–1996
Sylvia Ruzga
(m. 1941; died 1999)
ChildrenLarry 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/variety show host, then later hosted a late-night talk show with Regis Philbin as his young sidekick on ABC. He also was a member of the "Rat Pack" with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford.[1] He is listed as 96th entry on Comedy Central's list of 100 greatest comedians.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Bishop, the youngest of five children, was born in the Bronx, New York City, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants Anna (née Siegel) and Jacob Gottlieb.[1][3][4] His father was a bicycle repairman.[5] Bishop was raised in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[5]

Bishop was drafted into the US Army during World War II, and he rose to the rank of sergeant in the Special Services, serving at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.[6]


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, and from 1971 to 1976 more than anyone else until that time (Jay Leno and Joan Rivers later surpassed his record[citation needed]). He also frequently appeared on Steve Allen's and Jack Paar's previous versions of The Tonight Show. He later had his own late-night show.[7]

Bishop starred in the situation comedy The Joey Bishop Show that premiered on September 20, 1961, and ran for 123 episodes over four seasons, first on NBC and later CBS. Bishop played Joey Barnes, at first a publicity agent and then later a talk show host. Abby Dalton joined the cast in 1962 as his wife.[8]

With a Marquis chimp in The Joey Bishop Show sitcom

Bishop 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.[9]

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 onstage 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 (1962), a loose remake of Gunga Din (1939), and with Martin in the Western comedy Texas Across the River (1966), in which he portrayed an Indian.[10]

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 film Betsy's Wedding (1990) with Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy.[11] His final appearance in a film was a non-speaking role in Mad Dog Time (1996), written and directed by his son, Larry. His character was named Gottlieb, which was his real surname. The film was panned by critics.[12]

Bishop was portrayed by Bobby Slayton in the HBO film The Rat Pack (1998).[13]

Personal life and final years[edit]

Bishop wed Sylvia Ruzga in 1941, and they were married for 58 years until her death from lung cancer in 1999. They had one son, Larry Bishop, a film director and actor.

Thereafter, Bishop had a longtime companion, Nora Garibotti. In failing health for some time, Bishop died at age 89 of multiple organ failure on October 17, 2007, in his home on Lido Isle, a man-made island in the harbor of Newport Beach, California,[1] as the last surviving Rat Pack member. Per Bishop's wishes, his remains were cremated and scattered in the Pacific Ocean near his home. He had two grandsons, Kirk and Scott.

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia posthumously inducted Bishop into their Hall of Fame in 2009.[14]


Television work[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Severo, Richard (October 19, 2007). "Joey Bishop, 'Rat Pack' Comic, Dies at 89". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2010. Joey Bishop, the long-faced comedian and the last surviving member of the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra's celebrated retinue of the 1960s, 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. ^ "Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of all Time". Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  3. ^ McLellan, Dennis (October 18, 2007). "Joey Bishop, 89; comedian was last surviving member of Rat Pack". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 6, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  4. ^ Current Biography Yearbook. H. W. Wilson. 1955. p. 41.
  5. ^ a b Schoifet, Mark (October 18, 2007). "Joey Bishop, Last Member of 'Rat Pack,' Dies at 89". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  6. ^ "Joey Bishop". The Daily Telegraph. London. October 20, 2007.
  7. ^ Bernard M. Timberg; Robert J. Erler (January 1, 2010). Television Talk: A History of the TV Talk Show. University of Texas Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-292-77366-0.
  8. ^ Vincent Terrace (January 10, 2014). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 538. ISBN 978-0-7864-8641-0.
  9. ^ Hal Humphrey, "New Joey Bishop on ABC", The Los Angeles Times, April 19, 1967. Retrieved via
  10. ^ Harvey Kern; David E. Ross; Derek Ross (2012). Oak Park. Arcadia Publishing. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-7385-9538-2.
  11. ^ James Robert Parish (May 1994). Ghosts and angels in Hollywood films: plots, critiques, casts, and credits for 264 theatrical and made-for-television releases. McFarland. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-0-89950-676-0.
  12. ^ Roger Ebert (February 5, 2013). I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-7407-9248-9.
  13. ^ "The Rat Pack". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. August 24, 1998. p. 61.
  14. ^ "Our Hall of Fame 2009". Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. Archived from the original on October 6, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2013.

External links[edit]