Who was Sylvia Ruzga?

Sylvia Ruzga was the wife of Joey Bishop, an American entertainer. She was born on November 3, 1918, to Louis Herbert Ruzga and Pearl Ruzga in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA. Sylvia married Joey in 1941, and they were together until she died in 1999. In Sylvia Ruzga’s marriage of more than five decades, they were blessed with only one child Larry Bishop.

Sylvia’s only child is an actor, film director, and screenwriter. His film and television credits include Love, Dream of Jeannie, Barney Miller, Kung Fu, The Big Fix, Wild in the Streets, Hell Ride, and American Style.

Ruzga was a grandmother of two through her only son Larry Bishop, Kirk Bishop, and Scott Bishop.

Her Husband

Joey Bishop started his career in the entertainment industry in the late 1940s. He started stand-up comedy with his older brother; he then began making appearances on shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, among others. Years later, he guest-hosted The Tonight Show and The Tonight Show, Starring Johnny Carson in the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1961, Sylvia’s husband started starring in the situation comedy, The Joey Bishop Show. The show ran for four seasons on NBC and CBS. Six years later, Joey hosted the late-night talk show, The Joey Bishop Show, a competition for Carson’s Tonight Show.

Joey Bishop’s other television credits include What’s My Line?, where she was a frequent panelist, Make Room for Daddy, Chico and the Man, Liar’s Club, Murder, She Wrote, Break the Bank, Celebrity Sweepstakes, and Get Smart.

As an actor, Sylvia Ruzga’s made his film debut in 1958 when he appeared as Ski Krokowski in the world war II film, The Deep Six. The same year, Bishop was featured in The Naked and the Dead and Onionhead. Joey Bishop starred in the movie Ocean’s 11; the film starred five members of the Rat Pack: Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford.

Sylvia Ruzga’s husband’s other film credits include Betsy’s Wedding, Mad Dog Time, Valley of the Dogs, A Guide for the Married Man, Texas Across the River, Johnny Cool, Sergeants 3, Pepe, and The Delta Force. Joey Bishop was inducted into the Broadcasters Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame two years after his death.

Joey Bishop’s Personal Life and Later Years

After the death of Sylvia Ruzga, Bishop took in Nora Garibotti as a companion. Nora stayed by his side up to his final days. Sylvia’s husband’s health started deteriorating, and he spent most of his time at his home in Lido Isle. He was the last surviving member of the Rat Pack and died on October 17, 2007, at his residence of multiple organ failure aged 89.

Before dying, Bishop’s wishes were that his body should not be buried but rather cremated and scattered in the Pacific Ocean, and that was what was done.


Sylvia Ruzga died at Newport Beach, Orange County, California, USA, on September 20, 1999, due to lung cancer, aged 80. Her body was cremated, and the ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.