The Rat Pack is a group of entertainers that came together between the 1950s and 1960s. Founded by Humphrey Bogart, the group was originally called The Clan or The Summit in Hollywood’s social circles. The group featured greats such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, and Sammy Davis, Jr. as its core group with Bogart leading the first formation of what would become known as the Rat Pack after his passing. Let’s learn more about the Rat Pack with this brief history.

Brief History of the Rat Pack

Many members of the Rat Pack, most notably Sinatra, Martin, and Davis, Jr., appeared in a handful of movies together during their tenure. They were considered the group’s core members and the “Rat Pack” name references them running together in New York during the early years of their respective careers. There are several versions of why they’re called the Rat Pack, including Lauren Bacall’s story of watching them in Las Vegas and running around like a “goddamn rat pack.” Another version of the name comes from Bacall and Bogart’s regular hangout named Holmby Hills Rat Pack.

Other members of the Rat Pack in the 1960s include Bing Crosby, Cesar Romero, Jerry Lewis, Mickey Rooney, Nat King Cole, and Errol Flynn. Bogart has maintained the original group of the Rat Pack included himself and Bacall, along with:

  • Frank Sinatra
  • Judy Garland
  • Sid Luft
  • Swifty Lazar
  • Nathaniel Benchley
  • David Niven
  • Katharine Hepburn
  • Spencer Tracy
  • George Cukor
  • Cary Grant
  • Rex Harrison
  • Jimmy Van Heusen

By the 1960s, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. among others joined the Rat Pack. Many visiting members, including Marilyn Monroe, Shirley MacLaine, and Buddy Greco were considered Rat Pack Mascots by the core group. Many of these mascots worked in minor roles in films with members or opening acts in Las Vegas. After Bogart’s death in 1957, the term Rat Pack caught on in the media and is commonly used to refer to the group to this day.

One of the reasons the Rat Pack became so popular, even in modern culture, is because when one member would perform somewhere, other members would show up and join them on stage. This created a dynamic that most entertainers can’t come close to when performing today. The Rat Pack and what they’ve done for entertainment lives on today because of the chemistry and excitement they brought to the stage with every performance.