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17 Astonishing Facts About Joey Bishop

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another fun and exciting video! Today, we will be exploring 17 astonishing facts about Joey Bishop. Not only was this TV host, comedian, and entertainer a favorite amongst viewers, he also paved the way for others in the industry. This is Facts Verse Presents: 17 Astonishing Facts About Joey Bishop. Don’t forget to like this video and subscribe to our channel for more. Click that little notification bell icon to make sure you never miss it when we upload a new video.

NUMBER ONE: The Basics

Joey Bishop was born on February 3rd, 1918 in New York City. Bishop began his career in 1948, with cameos on various shows. He went on to star in his own show, using comedy to entertain viewers as he portrayed a talk show host. Little did he know, a few years later he would have his own nighttime show. While his surname at birth was Gottlieb, he took on the name “Bishop” as his stage name. However, it has not been documented whether Bishop officially changed his name. Either way, fans know him as “Joey Bishop,” the talk show host icon.


Joey Bishop became affiliated with the iconic “Rat Pack.” The group featured other showbiz icons of the time such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Peter Lawford. The group received a lot of attention, with five of the most influential figures making up its roster.

NUMBER THREE: The Youngest

Bishop was the youngest in his family. His parents had five children. He was born in the Bronx as the son of Jewish immigrants. His parents were Anna and Jacob Gottlieb. In fact, by 1941, Bishop had married Sylvia Ruzga. After decades of marriage, Ruzga died in 1999 from lung cancer. After her death, Bishop never remarried. However, the couple had a wonderful marriage and raised their son who later went for a career in the entertainment industry.


Joey Bishop and Sylvia Ruzga had one son together named Larry Bishop. He went on to pursue film and acting. He became a successful and prominent film director.


This one may come as a surprise, as Joey Bishop was drafted into the United States Army during World War II. Not only was he drafted into the army, but he also excelled in his role, getting promoted to one of the highest ranks. He was known officially as a Special Services sergeant, serving in Fort Sam, based out of Houston Texas.

NUMBER SIX: Maury by His Side

Joey Bishop’s brother, Maury, also had an interest in comedy. In order to gain confidence, Joey and his brother Maury did comedy routines together. The pair would use one other in their acts. This helped Joey get his start in comedy with the comfort of his brother beside him on stage. This allowed Bishop to star on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1950. He also appeared on The Dinah Shore Chevy Show in 1957, along with countless cameos in TV programs, especially during the early days of television.

NUMBER SEVEN: Record-Breaking Host

Joey Bishop was the only person to guest host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson more than any other entertainer of the era. When totaled up, Bishop guest hosted over 175 times! This was an incredible feat considering he did it in under five years. Actors, actresses, and entertainers in Hollywood would be thankful to guest host once or twice in a year. Bishop did it with grace and ease 175 times between 1971 and 1976. The only entertainers to pass him decades later were Jay Leno and Joan Rivers.

In the ‘60s, Bishop was the most influential comedian. By the 50’s he had his own standup routine. His journey prepared him well, as he went on to make a splash in Hollywood.


Joey Bishop starred in his own show, a situation comedy called “The Joey Bishop Show.” Prior to this opportunity, he made regular appearances on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show. His own show debuted on September 20th, 1961 on NBC. The show was funny and captured the attention of viewers all over the US. The show co-starred Bill Bixby and Joe Besser. They were best known for their work on “Three Stooges.” After four successful seasons and one network change, The Joey Bishop Show ended. However, his career was far from over.

Joey Bishop hosted another show with the same title, this time it was a nighttime talk show. The Joey Bishop Show (nighttime) featured TV icon, Regis Philbin. He helped to mentor young Regis and show him the ropes of television entertainment. The pair made a dynamic duo, keeping audiences happy and laughing for the entire show. They had great on-screen personalities that worked well together. Viewers loved the pair and kept tuning in night after night. In fact, the show did so well, it rivaled Jonny Carson’s show for two years. The feud continued until Bishop was replaced by Dick Cavett.


Bishop’s wife Sylvia was not an actress. As a result, her role was played by Abby Dalton in 1962. Abby is an actress, starring in other popular shows such as “Hennessy” and soap opera “Falcon Crest.”

NUMBER TEN: His Favorite Co-Stars

Joey Bishop co-starred alongside his fellow “members.” His friends Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. However, it is important to note that the five friends never publicly confirmed their street name “Rat Pack,” even though their audiences knew them informally by that name.

However, Bishop began his center-stage career by opening for Frank Sinatra. Bishop got along with Sinatra so well, the pair decided to form a group with three other icons of the time.

NUMBER ELEVEN: Vegas for the Win

The five members performed in the gambling capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada. They performed at the Sands Hotel. Their on-stage performance surprised many and kept their fans wanting more. They were well-known icons of their time and caused a frenzy everywhere they went. Many believe this was due to their unique combined talents. For example, the five members covered a range of talents: singing, acting, dancing, and more. Their individual personalities and skills made for a fantastic group. Together, they were 5 Hollywood stars on one stage. Their performance was a must-see. In fact, they were in the midst of filming Ocean’s 11 when they performed in Vegas. Ocean’s 11 told the story of friends planning to rob five casinos in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve.

NUMBER TWELVE: Sergeants 3 Reunion

After the five friends had gone their own separate ways in showbiz, they reunited for Sergeants 3, a remake of Gunga Din. The remake was a military adventure. The best part? All five members, Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. had roles in the film. The movie was about the life of a US sergeant, stationed on Indian Territory. The film had action, drama, and romance. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Peter Lawford played handsome and lusty US sergeants.

It was speculated that Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford had a falling out. However, that did not stop other members of the group from collaborating together on future films. In fact, Joey reunited with Dean Martin. Both friends starred in Texas Across the River together, a western comedy. The film was a success and fans of Martin and Bishop couldn’t wait for its release. In the film, Bishop played an Indian, alongside a talented cast and crew.

It is important to note that the reunion of the five friends (the Rat Pack), was a pivotal time in pop culture as they were seen as the most influential men in Hollywood. During that time, there were very few groups of talented men performing together on stage, in films and talk shows. As a result, the group received a lot of attention from the media and newspapers.

While Bishop was best known for light and feel-good comedy, he also played a variety of serious and dark roles. For example, he had roles in various war films including “The Naked and the Dead” in 1958, as well as “Delta Force” in 1986.


Joey Bishop’s final role in Hollywood was in the film “Mad Dog Time.” In this film, Bishop’s role was mute (non-speaking). The funny part? It was written, directed and created by his son, Larry Bishop. Joey Bishop was able to close out his career with a film directed by his only son. This was a special and sentimental way to conclude his time in front of the camera.


The film “The Rat Pack” was a major success on the HBO network, with Bobby Slayton portraying Bishop. The film was released in 1998 and portrayed all five original members. Ray Liotta played Frank Sinatra, Don Cheadle played Sammy Davis, Joe Mantegna played Dean Martin and Angus Macfadyen played Peter Lawford.

In real life, Bishop was the only member to associate with a younger version of the group, called the “Brat Pack.” He even played a ghost in 1990 during “Betsy’s Wedding” with Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald.

NUMBER FIFTEEN: Long Live Bishop

Joey Bishop was the longest-living member of the Rat Pack. He passed away on October 17th, 2007, at the age of 89. He passed in his home, located in Newport Beach, California. Then, he was survived by his son, Larry Bishop.


Joey Bishop made The Broadcast Pioneers’ Hall of Fame in 2009. Based in Philadelphia, The Broadcast Pioneers is a non-profit organization. This recognition came two years after his passing.

In fact, Bishop was raised in South Philadelphia and began his career in the city. The city paid tribute to his legacy. He began his career as a vaudeville-type comedian and actor. His humble Philadelphia beginnings served as the foundation for major Hollywood success.

NUMBER SEVENTEEN: A Bicycle Repairman

Joey Bishop’s father, Jacob Gottlieb, was a bicycle repairman. He was a Jewish immigrant and made a career for himself with the skills he had. His son was a prime example of the American dream, receiving international success in the entertainment industry.

Thank you for tuning in! We hope you learned more about this favorite talk show host. Joey Bishop truly set the tone for many hosts in showbiz. Give this video a ‘thumbs up’ if you enjoyed and subscribe for more. Let us know down in the comment box below which fact surprised you most and what you think of Joey’s time in Hollywood. Thanks again and we’ll see you in the next one!

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