Who Are the Rat Pack Members? Plus Photos of the Original Las Vegas Singers

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Dec 04, 2023

In the 1960s, the Rat Pack emerged as the epitome of cool and sophistication in Las Vegas. But who were the members of the Rat Pack?

This group of entertainers—led by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.—set the standard for the era’s entertainment, combining music, comedy, and style in a way that had never been seen before. Their influence extended beyond the stage, shaping the cultural landscape of the time.

Who Were the Original Rat Pack Members?

The Rat Pack, as we know it, consisted of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. However, the group’s origin dates back to the late 1940s gatherings at Humphrey Bogart’s house, which included Sinatra and other celebrities.

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra

Source: Warner Bros./YouTube

The term “Rat Pack” was famously coined by Lauren Bacall, Bogart’s wife, during one of these gatherings, in essence officially confirming who was in the Rat Pack. Why were they called the Rat Pack, though? Frankly, because Bacall stated, “You look like a pack of rats.”


Humphrey Bogart: The Unofficial First Leader

Before Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart was the original leader of the group that would become the Rat Pack.

Humphrey Bogart

Source: The Minneapolis Tribune-photo from Warner Bros./Wikipedia

Bogart’s home was a hub for Hollywood’s elite, where Sinatra, Judy Garland, and others would socialize. The early Rat Pack was more of a social circle than an entertainment group, laying the foundation for what was to come.

Dean and Sammy: Sinatra's Right-Hand Men

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. became the core of the Rat Pack in its most famous era. Frank, Sammy, and Dean’s chemistry was undeniable, both on and off stage.

Las Vegas sign

They were known for their charisma, musical talent, and ability to captivate audiences, becoming synonymous with Las Vegas’s glitzy and glamorous nightlife.

Rat Pack Movies: Blending Music and Cinema

It wasn’t just about the Rat Pack songs, though. The Rat Pack singers’ influence extended to the silver screen, with movies like “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Robin and the 7 Hoods,” which starred the Rat Pack as actors.

Ocean's Eleven title card

Source: Warner Bros./YouTube

The Rat Pack films showcased their unique blend of comedy, music, and style, and remain classics that epitomize the coolness and overall swagger of the era.

Rat Pack Live at the Sands: The Vegas Era

The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas became the Rat Pack’s playground, where they performed to sold-out crowds.

Vegas Sands Hotel and cars

Source: Desert Supply Company/Wikipedia

These shows were more than just songs from the Rat Pack; they were cultural events, with the Rat Pack’s Las Vegas performances becoming legendary for their spontaneity and energy.


The Swinging '60s: Rat Pack Style and Swagger

The Rat Pack represented the quintessence of 1960s masculinity and swagger. Their style, music, and overall charisma were representative of the cultural vibe of that era.

Dean Martin Ocean's Eleven

Source: Warner Bros./YouTube

The group had a huge influence on fashion, music, and entertainment, not just in Las Vegas but everywhere!


From Vegas to Politics: The Rat Pack's Influence

The Rat Pack’s reach extended into politics when Sinatra and his pals supported John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign.

Senator John F. Kennedy Attends Rat Pack Show

Source: KLAS-TV/YouTube

This political engagement highlighted their influence beyond entertainment, marking their presence in the larger cultural and political landscape of the time.


Changing Times: The Beatles and the End of an Era

As the 1960s progressed, cultural shifts led by The Beatles and other social changes signaled the end of the Rat Pack era.

Trade ad for Beatles' 1964 Grammys.

Source: Wikipedia

The Rat Pack’s singing, style, and form of entertainment, once at the forefront of popular culture, began to give way to new trends and societal shifts in values.


The Rat Pack Reunion: A Brief Resurgence

In 1988, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. attempted a Rat Pack reunion tour, briefly recapturing the magic of their heyday.

Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin in 1988

Source: YouTube

However, the tour faced challenges, with Dean Martin dropping out early along with internal tensions, marking an official, slightly messy end to the era.


Rat Pack Legacy: Enduring Influence in Pop Culture

Decades later, the Rat Pack’s influence remains a staple in pop culture. Their style, music, and films continue to be celebrated—whether it be in fashion or Rat Pack photos adorned on an old-school diner wall—inspiring new generations of entertainers and reminding us of a bygone era of American entertainment history.

Sammy Davis Jr. in Ocean's Eleven

Source: Warner Bros./YouTube

A quick internet search will return plenty of documentaries and movies about the Rat Pack as well, showing their lasting impact across generations.


The Rat Pack: More Than Just Entertainers

The Rat Pack was more than a group of entertainers. They were cultural icons who symbolized a specific era in American history.

Style (Sinatra, Martin, and Crosby) | Robin and the 7 Hoods

Source: Warner Bros./YouTube

Although none of the Rat Pack members are still alive, their legacy is a testament to their impact on entertainment, culture, and even politics, making them unforgettable figures in the history of American pop culture.