The Rat Pack, as we commonly know it, emerged in the 1960s as a cultural sensation. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford were the key members of this remarkable ensemble.
Their reputation was built on their love for the good life, the filming of “Ocean’s Eleven” in Las Vegas, and their collective appearances in the “Summit at the Sands” during the early 1960s.
Who were the Rat Pack members?
It’s interesting to note that there were actually two distinct Rat Packs. The first one gained popularity in the 1950s and featured luminaries like Humphrey Bogart, Mickey Rooney, Errol Flynn, Nat King Cole, Cesar Romero, and Jerry Lewis.
Humphrey Bogart led this early incarnation of the group, and it was during a sleepless Las Vegas escapade with Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, and David Niven that the term “rat pack” was playfully coined by Bacall.
Following Bogart’s era, Frank Sinatra took the reins as the leader of the Rat Pack. Having previously collaborated with Dean Martin on “Some Came Running,” Sinatra and Martin teamed up once again.
The accident that cost Sammy Davis Jr. an eye prompted Sinatra to rally around him, while Joey Bishop’s talents as a versatile comic made him a valuable addition to the group.
Peter Lawford, married to Patricia Kennedy, was also included due to his connection with the influential Kennedy family. Lawford’s introduction came with a bonus – the script of “Ocean’s Eleven,” a heist movie that later became synonymous with the Rat Pack.
Despite their dissolution, the Rat Pack’s legacy endures. Often credited with popularizing ‘cocktail culture,’ their impact on social trends remains palpable.
Over the years, the members passed away, leaving behind their enduring influence. Joey Bishop was the last surviving member, passing away in 2007.
Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra departed in 1984, 1990, 1995, and 1998, respectively.