How The Rat Pack Got Their Name

Even though the group was a force in popular culture for the better part of two different decades in mid-century America, it seems that the true origins of the name “Rat Pack” are lost to history, but there are a couple of theories. What is known for certain, according to The Las Vegas Sun, is that Sinatra and his friends enjoyed getting together for drinks with husband-and-wife Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, so much so that their drinking group was almost something of an informal fraternity. 

According to the blog of musician Joan Ellison the people who frequented Bacall and Bogart’s home were known as the “Holmby Hills Rat Pack,” the first two words referring to the LA neighborhood where the couple lived. The name stuck when Davis, Sinatra, Dean, and the other men started getting big collectively. 

Another explanation also stems from the connection between the men and Bacall. As Mental Floss notes, one night Bacall walked into the Vegas hotel room where her husband, Bogart, joined by Sinatra et al, were engaged in a hard night of partying, and Bacall quipped that they looked “like a goddamn rat pack.”

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