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Thread: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    This news came over the wires today.

    October 18, 2007
    Joey Bishop, ‘Rat Pack’ Comic, Is Dead
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Filed at 2:01 p.m. ET

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Joey Bishop, the stone-faced comedian who found success in night clubs, television and movies but became most famous as a member of Frank Sinatra's boisterous Rat Pack, has died at his Newport Beach home, his publicist said Thursday. He was 89.

    Bishop was the group's last surviving member. Peter Lawford died in 1984, Sammy Davis Jr. in 1990, Dean Martin in 1995, and Sinatra in 1998.

    Bishop died Wednesday night of multiple causes at his home in Newport Beach, publicist and longtime friend Warren Cowan said.

    The Rat Packers became a show business sensation in the late 1960s when they appeared together at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in shows that combined music and comedy in a seemingly chaotic manner.

    Reviewers often claimed that Bishop played a minor role, but Sinatra knew otherwise. He termed the comedian "the hub of the big wheel."

    "He was the perfect match for the Rat Pack. He fit right in like an old shoe," Hollywood honorary mayor Johnny Grant said Thursday.

    The quintet continued their hilarity whenever members were free of their own commitments. They appeared together in such films as "Ocean's Eleven" and "Sergeants 3" and even at a special performance for President Kennedy.

    The late 1990s brought a renaissance of the Rat Pack, with the group depicted in an HBO movie and portrayed by imitators in Las Vegas and elsewhere. The movie "Ocean's Eleven" was even remade in 2003 with George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the lead roles.

    Before the renaissance, Bishop defended his fellow performers' rowdy reputations in a 1998 interview.

    "Are we remembered as being drunk and chasing broads?" he asked. "I never saw Frank, Dean, Sammy or Peter drunk during performances. That was only a gag. And do you believe these guys had to chase broads? They had to chase 'em away."

    Away from the Rat Pack, Bishop starred in two television series, both called "The Joey Bishop Show."

    The first, an NBC sitcom, got off to a rocky start in 1961. Critical and audience response was generally negative, and the second season brought a change in format. The third season brought a change in network, with the show moving to ABC, but nothing seemed to help and it was canceled in 1965.

    In the first series, Bishop played a TV talk show host.

    In his next series, he really was a TV talk show host. The program, which aired on ABC, was launched in 1967 as a challenge to Johnny Carson's immensely popular "The Tonight Show."

    Like Carson, Bishop sat behind a desk and bantered with a sidekick, borrowing the name from their driver, Glenn Bishop.

    Joseph Abraham Gottlieb would eventually adopt Joey Bishop as his stage name.

    When his partners got drafted, Bishop went to work as a single, playing his first solo date in Cleveland at the well-named El Dumpo.

    During these early years he developed his style: laid back drollery, with surprise throwaway lines.

    After 3.5 years in the Army, Bishop resumed his career in 1945. Within five years he was earning $1,000 a week at New York's Latin Quarter. Frank Sinatra saw him there one night and hired him as his opening act.

    While most members of the Sinatra entourage treated the great man gingerly, Bishop had no inhibitions. He would tell audiences that the group's leader hadn't ignored him: "He spoke to me backstage; he told me 'Get out of the way."'

    When Sinatra almost drowned filming a movie scene in Hawaii, Bishop wired him: "I thought you could walk on water."

    Born in New York City's borough of the Bronx, Bishop was the youngest of five children of two immigrants from eastern Europe.

    When he was 3 months old the family moved to South Philadelphia, where he attended public schools. He recalled being an indifferent student, once remarking, "In kindergarten, I flunked sand pile."

    In 1941 Bishop married Sylvia Ruzga and, despite the rigors of a show business career, the marriage survived until her death in 1999.

    Bishop is survived by his son Larry Bishop; grandchildren Scott and Kirk Bishop; and longtime companion Nora Garabotti.

    A private funeral was planned. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that contributions be made to Children's Hospital of Orange County.
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    Member cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    Deborah Kerr also died. It always seems like these stars die in three's. I wonder who will be next?

    http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=114&sid=1271833
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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    Quote Originally Posted by cumberlandreds View Post
    Deborah Kerr also died. It always seems like these stars die in three's. I wonder who will be next?

    http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=114&sid=1271833
    Well Teresa Brewer died yesterday, so does that count?

    When I heard Deborah Kerr died, all I could think about was the discussion in Sleepless in Seattle between Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Victor Garber and Wilson is telling them the story of An Affair To Remember. She says Deborah Kerr's name and then stops, "Is it Curr or Carr; I can never remember".
    “In the same way that a baseball season never really begins, it never really ends either.” - Lonnie Wheeler, "Bleachers, A Summer in Wrigley Field"

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    Re: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    Anyone remember the SNL sketch about which of Joey's Bishop's sets was funniest?
    The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent. ~ Carlyle

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    Re: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    Well Teresa Brewer died yesterday, so does that count?

    When I heard Deborah Kerr died, all I could think about was the discussion in Sleepless in Seattle between Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Victor Garber and Wilson is telling them the story of An Affair To Remember. She says Deborah Kerr's name and then stops, "Is it Curr or Carr; I can never remember".
    I didn't she had died. That makes three then.
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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    I just read where Alice Ghostley (Esmerelda in Bewitched) passed away late last month. She was 81.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Re: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC View Post
    I just read where Alice Ghostley (Esmerelda in Bewitched) passed away late last month. She was 81.
    There is hardly anyone alive from that show. I'm guessing whoever played Tabitha is alive but all the adult stars have passed.
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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    Chasing broads. That was a term my dad used.

    Calling someone "a good broad" was high praise from him. Probably not PC acceptable these days.

    Pay attention to the open sky

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    Re: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

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    Re: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    Wow! Tabitha is really an all American girl and mother six! I'm guessing she is about my age which is early 40's. She is one childhood star who didn't turn out bad.
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    Re: Last of the Rat Pack, Joey Bishop Dies at Age 89

    Quote Originally Posted by cumberlandreds View Post
    There is hardly anyone alive from that show. I'm guessing whoever played Tabitha is alive but all the adult stars have passed.
    I just clicked through the cast list on IMDB because I was curious about this. It looks like the only recurring character actor from Bewitched who played an adult and is still alive is Bernard Fox, who played Dr. Bombay. He is 80 now.
    /r/reds


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