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Joey Bishop, Straight Man

Published: 10/17/2012

Rat Pack favorite Joey Bishop died five years ago today. Our friends at Obit Mag reflected on his fine humor. Originally published on

Joey Bishop, the last surviving member of the legendary gaggle of performers known as the Rat Pack, died on October 17. He was 89. Bishop was a comic whose dry, sharp-witted barbs were hardly ever scripted. He played the part of the straight man, to the wild-at-heart antics of Sinatra and Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford. And though he was relatively mild-mannered, he shared in the fun and the success that the Rat Pack had during their ribald days of the 1960s.

 Comedian Joey Bishop in a Oct. 23, 1963 photo. (AP Photo)

Comedian Joey Bishop in a Oct. 23, 1963 photo. (AP Photo)



He was the master of ceremonies during President Kennedy’s inaugural ball, he starred in all of the Rat Pack films, including Ocean’s Eleven and he played an integral, if often unappreciated, part in scripting some of the group’s wittier banter.

Bishop did well on television as well. He starred in “The Joey Bishop Show” and hosted his own talk show for ABC—he competed against Johnny Carson on the late night circuit for years 2 ½ years.

He had an admirable work ethic and dedication to his craft. He will be remembered for his wry but warm, sometimes prickly, but always gracious, character and sense of humor.






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