Russ Carlyle interview from 11/08/03
with special guest Joey Bishop
Carlyle of the sweet style Blue Barron Orchestra, and his great friend from
WWII... his Comanding Officer Joey
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 Carlyle, 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
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
Bishop was portrayed by Bobby Slayton in the 1998 HBO film The Rat
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
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
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
Bishop was among the stars of the
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
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
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
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.