Happy 105th Birthday Joey Bishop

Today is the 105th birthday of the entertainer Joey Bishop. A member of the Rat Pack, notoriously not good at smiling, and hilarious. I stumbled across an episode of his show and really loved it. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

joey bishop 001

NAME: Joey Bishop
DATE OF BIRTH: 3-Feb-1918
DATE OF DEATH: 17-Oct-2007
PLACE OF DEATH: Newport Beach, CA
CAUSE OF DEATH: Natural Causes
REMAINS: Cremated (ashes scattered at sea)

BEST KNOWN FOR: 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.

Bishop, the youngest of five children, was born in The Bronx, New York City, New York, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants Anna (Siegel) and Jacob Gottlieb. His father was a bicycle repairman. Bishop was raised in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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

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 1971–76 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. He later had his own late night show.

Bishop starred in the situation comedy The Joey Bishop Show that 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. Abby Dalton joined the cast in 1962 as his wife.

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.

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 (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.

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.

Bishop’s 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.

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

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. 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.

The Polly Bergen Show (May 3, 1958) (guest star) as Himself
Richard Diamond, Private Detective in “No Laughing Matter” (1959) as Joey Kirk
The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis (May 12, 1960) as Himself
What’s My Line? (1960–1966) (frequent panelist) as Himself
Make Room for Daddy (1961)
The Joey Bishop Show (1961–1965) situation comedy co-starring Abby Dalton, originally on NBC, then CBS as Joey Barnes / Joey Barnes, Jr. / Louie
Password (1961–1967) (frequent guest)
Get Smart (September 23, 1967) (cameo guest) as Himself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992) (frequent guest & substitute host) as Himself
The Hollywood Squares (1966–1981) (frequent panelist) as Himself
The Joey Bishop Show (1967–1969) late-night 90-minute talk show on ABC
Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (March 25, 1968/April 29, 1968/January 18, 1971) as Himself
Chico and the Man (1976) as Charlie
The Jacksons Variety Show (July 7, 1976) special guest star as Himself
Celebrity Sweepstakes (1974–1977) (frequent panelist) as Himself
Match Game (1976) as Panelist
Liar’s Club (1976–1978) (frequent panelist) as Himself
Break the Bank (1976–1977) (frequent panelist) as Himself
Murder, She Wrote (1985) as Buster Bailey
Glory Years (1987) as Sydney Rosen

The Deep Six (1958) as Ski Krokowski
The Naked and the Dead (1958) as Roth
Onionhead (1958) as Sidney Gutsell
Ocean’s 11 (1960) as Mushy’ O’Connors
Pepe (1960) as Joey Bishop (Cameo)
Sergeants 3 (1962) as Sgt.-Maj. Roger Boswell
Johnny Cool (1963) as Holmes – Used Car Salesman
Texas Across the River (1966) as Kronk
A Guide for the Married Man (1967) as Technical Adviser (Charlie)
Who’s Minding the Mint? (1967) as Ralph Randazzo
Valley of the Dolls (1967) as MC at Telethon
The Delta Force (1986) as Harry Goldman
Betsy’s Wedding (1990) as Mr. Hopper – Eddie’s Father
Mad Dog Time (1996) as Mr. Gottlieb (final film role)

One comment

  1. Joey’s Autobiography “My Saber is Bent” tells teh story of how really sensitive and effective he was in the days “Before Carson” on NBC. He was a Fill in host for many years and his style was much lower key then Johnny’s which is why Johnny supplanted him. Still, if you have any of the OLD tonight show episodes, look him up. He was Great.

    Liked by 1 person

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