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Russ Carlyle interview from 11/08/03

with special guest Joey Bishop 

Russ CarlyleJoey Bishop

Vocalist Russ Carlyle of the sweet style Blue Barron Orchestra, and his great friend from WWII... his Comanding Officer Joey Bishop!


Biography for Russ Carlyle

Vocalist and bandleader Russ Carlyle got his professional start after winning an amateur singing contest in 1935. After engagements at local Cleveland nightclubs, he went to work for radio station WJAY. In 1936 fellow Clevelander Blue Barron hired him as featured vocalist of his new orchestra. Carlyle was well-received by audiences, being voted one of the top four male vocalists by Billboard magazine in 1939.

Carlyle formed his own orchestra in 1940. When he fell victim to the draft in 1943 his sister, Louise , took over leadership of the group under her own name. In the service Carlyle worked at a chemical warfare facility. On the side he formed an orchestra to entertain his fellow soldiers. It was during Carlyle's military stay that he met and became good friends with comedian Joey Bishop.

In 1946 Carlyle was discharged and took over leadership of his orchestra once again. He ran into Bishop in New York, who asked him to become his partner. Carlyle turned him down. The following year, though, Carlyle helped Bishop land a job at the Blackhawk Restaurant in Chicago, where Carlyle was broadcasting a national radio program. Carlyle's connection with Bishop eventually brought him into the Rat Pack circle of friends. Frank Sinatra recorded several Carlyle numbers during his career.

In 1951 Carlyle's orchestra was signed by the ABC/Paramount label, where they recorded three albums. The group continued performing and touring throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s. Dorothy Ferguson was female vocalist, eventually replaced by Patty Clayton, who later became Carlyle's wife.

Popular among ballroom dancers, Carlyle's orchestra consistently found work during the 1970s, playing regularly in Las Vegas, at the Breezy Point resort in Minnesota, and in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During this period he formed his own label, FONA, and released several albums of music. In the 1980s Carlyle played winters in Arizona. He retired before the end of the decade. He and his wife currently reside winters in Phoenix and summers in Minnesota.

Biography for Joey Bishop

Joey Bishop (February 3, 1918 – October 17, 2007) was an American entertainer who was perhaps best known for being a member of the "Rat Pack" with Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin. Bishop appeared on television as early as 1948 and eventually starred in his own weekly comedy series as well as hosting a talk show.

Bishop was portrayed by Bobby Slayton in the 1998 HBO film The Rat Pack.

Personal life

Bishop, youngest of five children, was born as Joseph Abraham Gottlieb in the Bronx, New York, the son of Anna (née Siegel) and Jacob Gottlieb, JewishCentral European immigrants. His father was a bicycle repairman. Bishop was raised in South Philadelphia. In 1941, Bishop married Sylvia Ruzga, who died in 1999 from lung cancer. They had one son, Larry Bishop, a film director and actor.


Bishop began his career as part of a standup comedy act with his elder brother, Maury. He guest-hosted on television's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson more times than anyone else, having also frequently appeared on Steve Allen's and Jack Paar's previous versions of the show.

He hosted his own television show, The Joey Bishop Show (1967–1969), a 90-minute late-night talk show five nights a week on ABC that was launched as competition to Carson's popular nightly program. His sidekick for this show was then-newcomer Regis Philbin.

A situation comedy, also titled The Joey Bishop Show, premiered on 20 September 1961 and ran for four seasons, first on NBC and later CBS. Bishop played a talk show host named Joey Barnes. His wife was portrayed by Abby Dalton, who joined the cast in 1962.

Bishop was among the stars of the original Ocean's Eleven film about military veterans who reunite in a plot to rob five Las Vegas casinos on New Year's Eve. He co-starred with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford of the so-called Rat Pack, although the five of them did not publicly acknowledge that name.

During filming, the five entertainers performed together on stage in Vegas at the Sands Hotel. Bishop did only a little singing and dancing, but did tell jokes and write some of the act's material.

He later appeared with Sinatra, Martin and Davis in the military adventure Sergeants 3, a loose remake of Gunga Din, and with Martin in the western comedy Texas Across the River, in which he portrayed an Indian.

Bishop was the only member of the Rat Pack to work with members of a younger group of actors dubbed The Brat Pack, appearing (as a ghost) in the film Betsy's Wedding with Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy.

His final appearance in a film was a non-speaking role in Mad Dog Time, written and directed by Larry, his son. His character was named Gottlieb, which was Joey Bishop's real last name.


Bishop died on October 17, 2007 at his home in Newport Beach, California. Bishop was the last living male member of The Rat Pack (although some of the women who have been considered "honorary" members are still alive). He lived the longest number of years among the principal five.


Television work


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