In the days of Old Vegas, the Rat Pack represented cool. Sometimes they performed together, more often separately. Sometimes they finished their show and rushed to another hotel to rag on their buddy. They made movies and their legends together.
Frank Sinatra was the leader, with Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford sharing secondary billing.
Bet you forgot the fifth member.
He outlived them all.
Joey did movies, including the ones with the Rat Pack, but wasn’t a movie star. He did a lot of TV (comedian in the 1950s, a sitcom for four years, later a late-night talk show for ABC).
Joey’s greatness was being a grinder, not a god. The Rat Pack had but one god, Sinatra, and that was enough. But Sinatra knew that his ensemble needed an MC who could tell a story or a brief joke and move things along.
That would be Joey, the South Philly native whose last big shot was on ABC from 1967-69, in competition with “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” It soon was obvious who the king of late night was and would be; many ABC affiliates declined to carry Joey’s show.
After walking away from ABC (literally, in the middle of a show), Joey decided to merely dabble in show biz. He let his sitcom only be shown periodically in cable reruns, even though it was far from horrible.
Joey passed away in 2007, at 89, but left a legacy. His sidekick at ABC became a household name. Regis Philbin is still around at 84, and so is his spouse Joy … who met him when she was Joey Bishop’s secretary.