National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – October 17 – Joey Bishop

0 Comments 17 October 2012


Quick, name the members of the Rack Pack.

Three names come very quickly. Four if you think for a minute or two. Five…damn near impossible – which leads us to today’s DPD.

Joey Bishop.

Bishop was discovered by Sinatra while doing stand up in NYC’s Latin Quarter and within a week he was opening for him at the Copa and, overnight, his life was changed. In January 1961 he was master of ceremonies at President Kennedy’s inaugural gala, at which the Rat Pack performed. I think he also was awarded gum for life from Bazooka but the NOR staff is still confirming.

But while The Rack pack was known for sniffing booze bottles and butts Bishop was more of a straight laced guy. He was married to the same woman for over 30 years and didn’t really drink. Because of this he always considered himself a bit of an outlier but Sinatra was always sure to book him as his opener and secure roles in The Pack’s films.

Bishop is kind of like Pete Best except he got to go along for the ride and get paid. So, actually not like Best at all. Sorry bro.

A few key things to take away from today’s DPD.

1. Bishop was originally noticed as a teenager as he and his friends were going around Philly doing impressions. Why don’t more people do impressions these days? Am I missing something? Are they happening and I just don’t know about them? Look at Frank Caliendo. I can’t stand that guy and look how far impressions have gotten him. If you have information on this please email me at

2. Always give a good effort. What would have happened to Bishop’s career had he decided to mail it in the one night Sinatra was in the audience? Only Zoroaster knows the answer to that.

Now turn around and take your obit like a man.

Joey Bishop, ‘Rat Pack’ Comic, Dies at 89

Joey Bishop, the long-faced comedian and the last surviving member of the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra’s celebrated retinue of the 1960’s, died Wednesday night at his home in Newport Beach, Calif. He was 89. His death was of multiple causes, said his longtime publicist, Warren Cowan. Continue

- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.

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