Joey Bishop, American entertainer, Died at 89

  Dead Famous

Joey Bishop died on October 17, 2007 at the age of 89, he was an American entertainer.

Born in The Bronx, a borough of New York City, the son of Anna (Siegel) and Jacob Gottlieb, Jewish Polish immigrants on February 3, 1918.

Bishop debuted on television as early as 1948 and was a frequent guest on talk, game and comedy shows.

Bishop gained wide exposure by appearing regularly on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show (1958-62).

He guest-hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson more times than anyone else.

He starred in The Joey Bishop Show (1961-65), a television sitcom, and hosted his own late-night talk show, also called The

Joey Bishop Show (1967-69), complete with a sidekick, TV newcomer Regis Philbin.

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 Starring Johnny Carson at least 175 times from 1971–76, more than anyone else until that time (Jay Leno and Joan Rivers later surpassed his record).

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.

In his vigorous years, when he was known as “the Frown Prince” and his income and fame were substantial, Mr. Bishop indulged himself with a Rolls-Royce and a speedboat.

But he seemed happiest when he was playing golf with his fellow comedians Buddy Hackett, Phil Foster and Dick Shawn.

And unlike the others in the Pack, he remained married to the same woman, the former Sylvia Ruzga, for 58 years, until her death in 1999.

Bishop suggested at times that although he was grateful for all that Sinatra had done for his career, including seeing to it that he got roles in Rat Pack movies, he felt he was more the mascot of the Pack than a full-fledged member.

A 2002 biography of him by Michael Seth Starr was titled “Mouse in the Rat Pack.”

Joey Gottlieb was interested in entertainment from an early age. In elementary school he did impersonations of Edward G. Robinson and Jimmy Durante.

After dropping out of high school, he formed a music and comedy act with two friends.

Calling themselves the Bishop Brothers, after an acquaintance who had let them use his car, they worked in Philadelphia, New York, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland and other cities, appearing in clubs with names like the Nut Club and El Dumpo.