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Who is The Rat Pack?

Can you name the members of the Rat Pack? No – they are not actually rats! Here’s a little bit of information you will find interesting and amusing!

From left to right:  Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and seated is Sammy Davis, Jr.  They were known for their hard-living showbiz lifestyle that often played out in the tabloids.  They drank, gambled and were entertainers.

During the 1950s and 1960s they were at the very top of the entertainment world and many believe they played some of the greatest music ever recorded.  Their glamorous lifestyles were also legendary, rubbing shoulders with the most influential people of the era.  They were known for playing at The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. 

The Sands Hotel was one of the first ten hotels to open on the Las Vegas strip. It was actually the seventh resort to be built.  Many believe the Sand’s claim to fame began in a three-week period in 1960 during the filming of Ocean’s Eleven.  It was during that time that Sinatra, Martin, Bishop, Lawford and Davis performed in the famous Copa Room.  The performances were called the “Summit at the Sands” and is considered to be the birth of the Rat Pack. The Copa Room was named after the famous Copacabana Club in New York City. 

The year 1960 vaulted the Rat Pack and Las Vegas into the spotlight as the Entertainment Capital of the World.  They became the best entertainment American audiences had seen or heard in the post-World War II era.  Some of the most famous women were known to hang out with them, including:  Lauren Bacall, Juliet Prowse, Angie Dickinson, Shirley MacLaine, and Marilyn Monroe.

  Before signing on with the Sands, the members of the Rat Pack each had their own careers and played in other hotels on the strip.  Sinatra played at the Desert Inn and became the leader of the Rat Pack,  Sammy Davis was at the Last Frontier, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were at the Flamingo. Once those contracts expired, they moved to the Sands.  The price of a ticket to see the Rat Pack at the Sands was dinner and a minimum of two drinks: $5.95 per person.  


For years, Frank or Dean would cradle Sammy Davis in their arms, offering him to the audience, and say, “I’d like to thank the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) for this award.” It brought down the house.

Eventually the Rat Pack folded.  The Sands Hotel closed its doors on June 30th, 1996 and today, in its place, is the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.

If you found this information interesting or helpful, please click on the “I Like it” box at the bottom of the page or Stumble it.   Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for more interesting articles @CletaGB.

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  1. Posted July 6, 2011 at 2:07 am

    good research

  2. Posted July 6, 2011 at 2:11 am

    good one

  3. Posted July 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

    I liked this article. Just a little bit more trivia, I believe I heard that the Sands was originally under the influence of the Chicago mob. In the days when Westerns were the rage on TV many of the actors got involved in the quick draw contests. Two of the quickest weren’t even western actors, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jerry Lewis!

  4. Posted July 6, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Thanks for the trivia, Robert.

  5. Geri
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    There will never be a group like this “rat pack” group. I loved Dean and Sammy and Jerry Lewis. Nothing beats growing up in that era because things were so much simplier then. I love the 50s and 60s music also! Dean and Frank and Sammy all sang such great songs!
    Great article as always!

  6. Posted July 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks Geri – that was so kind of you!

  7. Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Yes, they were a wild bunch. What an interesting mix. You’ve got Sammy Davis Jr. breaking down racial barriers, Dean Martin having too many drinks, and Frank Sinatra having alleged interactions with some shady characters.

  8. Posted July 7, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Thanks again for your comments.

  9. Bill Brooks
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 10:09 am

    cool stuff Cleta. The Sands was the #1 hotel on the strip, because they had the best entertainment. Other top entertainers at the Sands in the 50’s & 60’s were Tony Bennett, Tony Martin, Vic Damone, Tallulah Bankhead & others. Best years 50’s – 60’s!!

  10. Posted July 7, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I agree, Bill – thanks for your comment!!

  11. Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Love the Rat Pack,I always forget Lawford and Bishop though. Wasn’t it Lawford that introduced Marilyn Munroe to the Kennedys? Do you recall the ’80’s wildchilds known as the Brat Pack?

  12. Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:29 am

    great trip down memory lane! Fond memories and thoughts of the old days. Thanks.

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