The names by which we know the members of the Rat Pack are all familiar, but for the most part those are not the names the guys began with in life. For exampe, Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti and briefly used the name Dino Martini when he started out.
Joey Bishop was born Joseph Abraham Gottlieb, and Peter Lawford came into the world as Peter Sydney Ernest Aylen.
Sammy and Frank however, used their real names, although early on, a bandleader suggested a name for Frank that might have changed the course of the chairman’s career. It was a name that Frank said would have kept him singing in lounges and small venues for the rest of his life as you’ll probably agree when you hear it.
One of Frank’s favorite composers and a close friend, Jimmy Van Heusen started out life as Chester Babcock and was probably well-advised to change that one.
Possibly Frank’s closest friend, restaurant owner Jilly Rizzo was born with the first name Ermenigildo that definitely warranted shortening.
It’s believed that Frank’s dad, Marty Sinatra tried boxing and briefly took the name Marty O’Brien because for some reason boxers with Irish names were the thing at that time.
By the way, Frank Sinatra Jr. is not technically a “junior” because his middle name Emmanuel is different from his father’s middle name which is Albert.
The Rat Pack itself would have been remembered by a different name if Frank had his way. He didn’t like the Rat Pack title, and preferred to call the group The Summit, after the high profile U.S./Soviet summit conferences of the time.
And oh yes. . .The name suggested for a young Frank Sinatra was “Frankie Satin”. Hearing that, it’s a good thing Frank said no thanks.
For more stories on Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, visit this Frank Sinatra tribute resource.