Iconic Women Who Ran With The Rat Pack

The Rat Pack emerged in the 1950s as a group of Hollywood friends who initially gathered at the home of Humphrey Bogart. Members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop collaborated on films in the ’60s, but they weren’t the only ones in the group. Other prominent figures like Cary Grant and Mickey Rooney were Rat Packers, along with various leading ladies. From Judy Garland to Patricia Kennedy, the array of women who floated in and out of the Rat Pack’s circle may surprise you.

Judy Garland Was The Group’s First VP

Judy Garland wasn’t just a member of the Rat Pack, but was the group’s first vice president! Having been a leading lady for decades, Judy could certainly hold her own among the other members of the group.

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Judy and Frank Sinatra go way back, having starred in the musical Till the Clouds Roll By together in 1946, a decade before the Rat Pack was formed. She appeared alongside leading members Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean in Martin Pepe, a 1960 musical comedy.

Katharine Hepburn Was Connected To Humphrey Bogart

Years before Humphrey Bogart started the Rat Pack by hosting Hollywood gatherings at his home, he was friends with Katharine Hepburn. In fact, it was Katharine who suggested that Bogart star along her side in the 1951 adventure film African Queen.

Ernest Bachrach/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
Ernest Bachrach/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

The film garnered Bogart an Academy Award for Best Actor. Katharine was also nominated for Best Actress, and she went on to achieve the second most Academy Award nominations of any woman. The Rat Pack was lucky to have her in their circle!

Marilyn Monroe Was Deeply Fond Of Frank Sinatra

Marilyn Monroe was such a household name at the time that we can’t imagine any group would reject her admission. The link that brought her into the Rat Pack was her dear friendship with Frank Sinatra.

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Baron/Getty Images

According to The Desert Sun, Frank was a strong support system for Marilyn when she went through her divorce. She wrote of the superstar, “He makes me feel secure and happy. He makes me laugh. I think he is the only man who has taught me how to live.”

Janet Leigh And Husband Tony Curtis Were Rat Packers

If you’re a fan of the “scream queen” Jamie Lee Curtis, then you may also be familiar with her star parents, Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. Janet emerged as a leading lady in the late ’40s, marrying fellow actor Tony in 1951.

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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The couple continued to rise in fame throughout the ’50s, spending time with the Rat Pack. Janet has since been characterized by her famous role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, for which she won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.

Shirley MacLaine Was Seen As One Of The Guys

Some Rat Pack members were referred to as “mascots” of the group, particularly women. Shirley MacLaine was one of the most well-known mascots since she was openly regarded as “one of the boys.”

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In Shirley’s memoir, she wrote that the leading males of the Rat Pack made a kind of communal decision that she was merely a pal. As a result, Shirley said she felt comfortable and friendly being around the guys in the group.

Lauren Bacall Came Up With “Rat Pack”

There are a few tales of how the group came to be known as the “Rat Pack.” One explanation is that Lauren Bacall, who was married to Humphrey Bogart, told the star and his friends that they looked like a rat pack one night.

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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

After Humphrey passed away in the late ’50s, Lauren became involved with fellow Rat Packer Frank Sinatra. The two were briefly engaged, but Frank ultimately called it off after becoming furious that their wedding plans went public.

Kim Novak Received Backlash For Dating Sammy Davis Jr.

Kim Novak signed to Columbia Pictures in 1954, and a year later, she appeared alongside Frank Sinatra in the drama The Man with the Golden Arm. Later that decade, Kim was highly regarded for her role in the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo.

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Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

She spent some of her Rat Packer years on the arm of Sammy Davis Jr. The pair received backlash, and even threats, for being a mixed-race couple amid the Civil Rights Movement. Ultimately, Sammy went on to marry another white Rat Packer.

Elizabeth Taylor Was A Teen Star Turned Hollywood Icon

Elizabeth Taylor was such a prominent star for most of her life that it’s hard to imagine a Hollywood circle that she wouldn’t have been welcomed into. At the age of nine she was offered a contract with both Universal Studios and MGM.

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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Elizabeth went with the former and proceeded to emerge as one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. She transitioned into adult roles in the ’50s and began running with the Rat Pack. By the end of the decade, she was a critically-acclaimed actress.

Lena Horne Was A Trend-Setting Triple Threat

Lena Horne emerged in the ’30s as a triple threat: an actress, singer, and dancer. As a mixed-race woman of African American descent, she was a trendsetter in Hollywood. Lena worked for both MGM and 20th Century Fox in the 1940s but became disillusioned with the business by the ’50s.

Jazz Singer Lena Horne
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Bettmann/Getty Images

Lena transitioned away from Hollywood by honing in on her nightclub career in the mid-’50s. Considering her talent and fame, it’s no surprise she was a visiting member of the Rat Pack.

Mia Farrow Was Married To Frank Sinatra

Mia Farrow rose to popularity for her starring role in the soap opera Peyton Place. Around the same time, she began a relationship with Frank Sinatra, who was almost thirty years her senior.

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David Bailey/Conde Nast via Getty Images

The pair wed in 1966 and Farrow was planned to be a part of Sinatra’s film The Detective. Instead, Mia starred in Rosemary’s Baby and split from Frank. Though their relationship wasn’t terribly long-lived, it did overlap with the Rat Pack years.

Marlene Dietrich Was Established Long Before The Rat Pack

Marlene Dietrich’s career began with silent films back in the 1920s. It was the 1930 German film The Blue Angel that put Marlene on the map. By the 1950s, she was swimming in the same circles as some of the most prominent figures in Hollywood.

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In addition to her acting talent and fashion sense, Marlene was known for her alleged affairs with greats such as George Bernard Shaw, John F. Kennedy, and Rat Packer Frank Sinatra.

Ava Gardner Was Married To Two Rat Packers

Ava Gardner signed with MGM in 1941, and one year later she married Rat Packer Mickey Rooney. The wedding was kept a secret so that fans wouldn’t be deterred by Mickey’s new relationship status.

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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The marriage only lasted a year, but Ava agreed not to reveal Mickey’s adulterous ways for the sake of his career. In 1951 the established leading lady married Frank Sinatra. The pair divorced in 1956, but remained friends for the remainder of their lives.

Juliet Prowse Rose To Fame In Can-Can

Juliet Prowse was a South African dancer who rose to prominence for her role in Can-Can. Though she starred in the 1959 musical alongside Hollywood giants like Frank Sinatra, Juliet stood out in the crowd.

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Archive Photos/Getty Images

Time called Juliet the best thing about the otherwise subpar film, and the following year she co-starred with Elvis Presley in G.I. Blues. Juliet went on to appear on The Frank Sinatra Show and starred alongside fellow Rat-Packer Mickey Rooney decades later in Sugar Babies.

Angie Dickinson Starred With Other Rat Packers In Ocean’s 11

Angie Dickinson was another of the few actresses who was deemed a Rat Pack mascot. She met and began dating Sinatra in the early ’50s, and appeared alongside him and other Rat Packers in the 1960 hit movie Ocean’s 11.

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In an interview with The Desert Sun, Angie said that though her and Frank’s romantic relationship didn’t last, they remained great friends. She continued to run with the Rat Pack for years but kept her distance to avoid having another fling with one of the members.

May Britt Retired From Acting When She Wed Sammy Davis Jr.

May Britt was discovered at 18-years-old while working as a photographer’s assistant in Sweden. Italian filmmakers offered her the title role in Jolanda, the Daughter of the Black Corsair, launching her acting career.

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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

May signed with 20th Century Fox and relocated to Hollywood, where she met Sammy Davis Jr. in 1959. The two wed the following year, despite the fact interracial marriage was still illegal in 31 states. Sammy and May welcomed three children before getting a divorce in 1968.

Ruta Lee Starred In Sergeants 3 With Rat Packers

Ruta Lee got her big break in 1954 with her role in the Academy Award-nominated musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. She rounded out the decade with several more successful films before starring in Sergeants 3.

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Terry Fincher/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The 1962 Western comedy featured Rat Packers Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., and Frank Sinatra. She and Frank remained friends for years, and she told The Desert Sun that he treated her “like one of his daughters.”

Marilyn Maxwell

Any 1950s actress who had the same first name and initials as Marilyn Monroe and still became a household name clearly knew what she was doing. Such was the case with Marilyn Maxwell, who signed with MGM in 1942.

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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

As a big band singer, Marilyn met Frank Sinatra in the 1930s and the two became friends. When she gave up singing for acting in the ’40s, Frank became more than just a friend. Their affair was eventually outed and Marilyn went on to pursue a relationship with Bob Hope.

Lana Turner Is An Icon Of Classic Hollywood Cinema

The glamorous Lana Turner had an acting and modeling career that spanned half a century. She emerged as a leading lady in the 1940s, around the time she began a love affair with Frank Sinatra. The two would meet in Palm Springs to escape the tabloids.

Lana At Christmas
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Lana’s fame continued through the Rat Pack years of the 1950s. She landed an Academy Award nomination for her role in Peyton Place, the film version of the soap opera Mia Farrow starred in a decade later.

Patricia Kennedy Was Rat Packer Peter Lawford’s Wife

As the sister of Robert, John, and Ted Kennedy, Patricia was a well-known socialite. Since their father was the head of RKO Pictures, she developed a fascination with Hollywood and wanted to be a movie producer.

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Peter Lawford produced the first cooking program on network television, NBC’s I Love To Eat. Patricia met the Rat Packer multiple times in the 1940s and ’50s, and the two finally tied the knot in 1954. The pair remained together until 1966.

Jeanne Biegger Was A Model And The Wife Of Dean Martin

Jeanne Biegger started her modeling career at a young age, meeting Dean Martin at a New Year’s Eve show in 1949. The pair wed when she was 22-years-old and they had three children together.

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Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The supportive Jeanne also helped raise Dean’s four other children he had from his previous marriage. The couple remained together through the bulk of the Rat Pack years, but ultimately separated in the year 1973. Jeanne and Dean stayed close until he passed in 1995.

Loray White Married Sammy Davis Jr. For $10,000 or $25,000

Loray White is an actress known for her performances in The Notorious Cleopatra and Miss Nymphet’s Zap-In. But one of her big headline news stories came when she married Sammy Davis Jr. Rumor has it that the Rat Pack member gave White $10,000 or $25,000 to marry him and protect him from the mob!

Barbara Nichols...
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Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

They never lived together and dissolved the marriage after one year.

Barbara Marx Was With Sinatra Until His Death

Barbara Marx was a showgirl, model, philanthropist, socialite, and the fourth and final wife of Frank Sinatra. As it turned out, this marriage would be the longest for both of the stars, lasting from 1976 until 1998.

Frank Sinatra And Barbara Sinatra Portrait Session
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Harry Langdon/Getty Images

When Sinatra passed away, he left Marx $3.5 million in assets, including mansions in Palm Springs and Beverly Hills, California.

Joi Lansing Met Frank Sinatra On Film Sets

Joi Lansing was a model and actress best known for her role in Orson Welles’ 1958 crime drama Touch of Evil. She met Frank Sinatra on the set of his film A Hole in the Head and again on the set of Marriage on the Rocks, where she played the role of Lola.

Joi Lansing...
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Frank Grant/Toronto Star via Getty Images

While the two were never in an official relationship, there were many magazines with questionable gossip columns.

Altovise Gore Was Sammy Davis Jr.’s Last Wife

An entertainer and actress, Altovise Gore is known for appearing in some major television productions, including CHiPS and Charlie’s Angels. She also had minor roles in the films Kingdom of Spiders, Can’t Stop the Music, and Welcome to Arrow Beach.

Sammy And Altovise
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Chris Wood/Express/Getty Images

Her most “famous” role, though, is arguably being Sammy Davis Jr.’s third wife. The two were married in 1970 and stayed together until 1990.

Pat Sheehan Was A Playmate

While they never got married, Dean Martin was in a brief relationship with Pat Sheehan. Known for being an actress and model, Sheehan was also the Playmate of the Month in October of 1958.

Pat_Sheehan_(model)
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Sheehan never married but was in relationships with a few famous people, The King of Cool, Bing Crosby, and Rod Taylor, to name a few.

Nancy Barbato Was Frank Sinatra’s First Wife

Nancy Barbato met Frank Sinatra in Long Branch, New Jersey, back in 1934. It was the summer, and she was working as a lifeguard at the local beach. Barbato became Sinatra’s first wife. The two were married from 1939 to 1951.

Frank Sinatra Posing with Wife
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Bettmann/Getty Images

The two had three children together, Nancy, Frank Jr., and Tina.

Catherine Hawn Was Dean Martin’s Last Wife

Catherine Hawn was working as a receptionist at Rodeo Drive hair salon when she met Dean Martin. After their marriage in 1973, she appeared on numerous talk shows, including The Merv Griffin Show.

Ron Galella Archive - File Photos
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Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

While the marriage only later three years, Martin wound up adopting Hawn’s daughter, Sasha, while they were still together.

Nora Garibotti Was Joey Bishop’s Longtime Partner

After the death of his wife Sylvia Ruzga, Rat Pack member Joey Bishop began a long-term relationship with Nora Garibotti. She lived with Bishop in his home on Lido Isle, a manmade island in the harbor of Newport Beach, California, for ten years.

Joey Bishop Portrait
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Archive Photos/Getty Images

Garibotti was made one of Bishop’s primary beneficiaries of his estate. It was a huge controversy since the two were never photographed together, and Bishop’s family didn’t know she existed.

Olivia Hussey Was In The King Of Cool’s Family

Gold Globe Award-winner actress Olivia Hussey is known for her performances in the films Romeo and Juliet, Turkey Shoot, and Black Christmas. The latter film earned Hussey the title of Scream Queen!

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Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

On her 20th birthday in 1971, the actress married Dean Paul Martin and became The Kind of Cool’s daughter-in-law. The two had a son together, Alexander Gunther Martin, before divorcing in 1978.

Carole Costello Was Married To Dean Martin’s Oldest Son

Carole Costello appeared in uncredited baby roles in her father Lou Costello’s films. On top of that, she was a nightclub singer and contestant coordinator for Card Sharks, a popular game show.

Lou Costello with Daughter Carole Lou
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Bettmann/Getty Images

From 1938 to 1987, Costello married Dean Martin’s oldest son, Craig. They had one daughter together, Marki, who became a director and film producer. This is a photo of Carole with her famous father.

Mary Ann Rowan Was Peter Lawford’s Second Wife

Mary Ann Rowan is the daughter of comedian Dan Rowan, famous for his time on the television show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. While Mary Ann did not get into the entertainment business, she did marry a very famous person — Peter Lawford.

Peter Lawford and Mary Ann Rowan Getting Married
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Bettmann/Getty Images

The Rat Pack member’s second wife, the two were wed in 1971, divorcing two years later in 1975.

Lola Falana Had A Brief Relationship With Sammy Davis Jr.

Lola Falana is an actress, dancer, model, and singer known for her performance in The Liberation of L.B. Jones, a role that earned her a Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year – Actress nomination.

A sparkling act. Dancer/singer Lola Falana kicked up her heels with a sparkling performance for her
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David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images

While they were never married, Falana had a relationship with Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr.

Dorothy Hamill Was Married To Dean Martin’s Son

Figure skating Olympic gold medalist Dorothy Hamill wasn’t married to a member of the Rat Pack, but she did have a very close relationship with the Martin family. From 1982 until 1984, the Olympian was married to Dean Paul Martin, the King of Cool’s son.

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Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The two did not have children together, and Hamill was married once more before marrying John MacColl in 2009.

Patricia Seaton Was Peter Lawford’s Last Wife

Peter Lawford married author Patricia Seaton in July of 1984. Sadly, they didn’t get to enjoy marriage for very long, as Lawford had a heart attack months later and passed away at the young age of 61.

Peter Lawford arrived in Sydney today with a friend Patricia Seaton.
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Antony Matheus Linsen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Seaton didn’t let their short marriage fall to the wayside, though. She wrote the book The Peter Lawford Story: Life With the Kennedys, Monroe, and the Rat Pack to honor her late husband.