Joey Bishop

Comedian Joey Bishop was born on Sunday, February 3, 1918 in New York City. His real name was Joseph Abraham Gottlieb, the son of jewish immigrants who came to this country for a better life for themselves and their children.

The family moved to South Philadelphia when Joey was just three months old. There his dad was a bike repair technician. In 1941, he married Sylvia Ruzga, who died in 1999 from cancer. The couple had a son, Larry.

Joey was probably best known for his late night TV show on ABC (1967 to 1969) and his "membership" in the Rat Pack, a group of Frank Sinatra's pals. He died on October 17, 2007 at the age of 89. By the way, on the late night TV show, Joey's announcer was a young guy named Regis Philbin.

When ABC-TV told Bishop that they were canceling the show, Joey went on the next broadcast, announced the news and then said that he was leaving to go home and have dinner with his wife. With that, Bishop walked on the program and Regis finished the broadcast.

Joey was on TV as early as 1948 and he began his career as a standup comic with his older brother, Maury. He had a situation comedy TV series (The Joey Bishop Show) which ran for four years from 1961 to 1965 on NBC and then CBS. The show was a natural for Joey who portrayed a comic (Joey Barnes) hosting a television talk show. The show was produced by Danny Thomas' production company.

On January 20, 1961, Joey Bishop was the MC for President Kennedy's inaugural gala in Washington. In 1981, Joey replaced Mickey Rooney for 4 weeks in the Broadway production of "Sugar Babies." There was just one problem. Mickey Rooney could sing but Bishop couldn't. His solution. He played the mandolin, which he learned to play as a child.

On Friday, November 20, 2009, Joey Bishop was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia's "Hall of Fame."

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Ed Harvey
Bio written by Broadcast Pioneers historian Gerry Wilkinson

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