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Enjoying great success in music, film, television, and the stage, Dean Martin was less an entertainer than an icon, the eternal essence of cool. A member of the legendary Rat Pack, he lived and died the high life of booze, broads and bright lights, always projecting a sense of utter detachment and serenity; along with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and the other chosen few who breathed the same rarefied air, Martin -- highball and cigarette always firmly in hand -- embodied the glorious excess of a world long gone, a world without rules or consequences. Throughout it all, he remained just outside the radar of understanding, the most distant star in the firmament; as his biographer Nick Tosches once noted, Martin was what the Italians called a menefreghista -- "one who simply does not give a f***."
Dino Paul Crocetti was born on June 7, 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio; the son of an immigrant barber, he spoke only Italian until the age of five, and at school was the target of much ridicule for his broken English. He ultimately quit school at the age of 16, going to work in the steel mills; as a boxer named Kid Crochet, he also fought a handful of amateur bouts, and later delivered bootleg liquor. After landing a job as a croupier in a local speakeasy, he made his first connections with the underworld, bringing him into contact with club owners all over the Midwest; initially rechristening himself Dean Martini, he had a nose job and set out to become a crooner, modeling himself after his acknowledged idol, Bing Crosby. Hired by bandleader Sammy Watkins, he dropped the second "i" from his stage name and eventually enjoyed minor success on the New York club circuit, winning over audiences with his loose, mellow vocal style.
Despite his good looks and easygoing charm, Martin's early years as an entertainer were largely unsuccessful. In 1946 -- the year he issued his first single, "Which Way Did My Heart Go?" -- he first met another struggling performer, a comic named Jerry Lewis; later that year, while Lewis was playing Atlantic City's 500 Club, another act abruptly quit the show, and the comedian suggested Martin to fill the void. Initially, the two performed separately, but one night they threw out their routines and teamed on-stage, a Mutt-and-Jeff combo whose wildly improvisational comedy quickly made them a star attraction along the Boardwalk. Within months, Martin and Lewis' salaries rocketed from $350 to $5000 a week, and by the end of the 1940s they were the most popular comedy duo in the nation. In 1949, they made their film debut in My Friend Irma, and their supporting work proved so popular with audiences that their roles were significantly expanded for the sequel, the following year's My Friend Irma Goes West.
With 1951's At War with the Army, Martin and Lewis earned their first star billing. The picture established the basic formula of all of their subsequent movie work, with Martin the suave straight man forced to suffer the bizarre antics of the manic fool Lewis. Critics often loathed the duo, but audiences couldn't get enough -- in all, they headlined 13 comedies for Paramount, among them 1952's Jumping Jacks, 1953's Scared Stiff and 1955's Artists and Models, a superior effort directed by Frank Tashlin. For 1956's Hollywood or Bust, Tashlin was again in the director's seat, but the movie was the team's last; after Martin and Lewis' relationship soured to the point where they were no longer even speaking to one another, they announced their breakup following the conclusion of their July 25, 1956 performance at the Copacabana, which celebrated to the day the tenth anniversary of their first show.
While most onlookers predicted continued superstardom for Lewis, the general consensus was that Martin would falter as a solo act; after all, outside of the 1953 smash "That's Amore," his solo singing career had never quite hit its stride, and in light of the continued ascendancy of rock & roll, his future looked dim. After suffering a failure with Ten Thousand Bedrooms, Martin's next move was to appear in the 1958 drama The Young Lions, starring alongside Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando; that same year he also hosted The Dean Martin Show, the first of his color specials for NBC television. Both projects were successful, as were his live appearances at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas; in particular, The Young Lions proved him a highly capable dramatic actor. Combined with another hit single, "Volare," Martin was everywhere that year, and with the continued success of his many TV specials, he effectively conquered movies, music, television and the stage all at the same time -- a claim no other entertainer, not even Sinatra, could make.
Even at the peak of his fame, however, Martin remained strangely contemptuous of stardom; for a man whose presence in the public eye was almost constant, he was utterly elusive, beyond the realm of mortal understanding. As his celebrity and power grew, he slipped even further away: in early 1959, his movie with Sinatra, Some Came Running, hit theaters, and with it came the dawning of the Rat Pack. Together, Sinatra and Martin -- in tandem with their acolytes Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and Shirley MacLaine -- set new standards of celebrity hipsterdom, becoming avatars of the good life; flexing their muscle not only in show business but also in politics -- their ties to John F. Kennedy, Lawford's brother-in-law and an honorary Rat Packer code-named "Chicky Baby," are now legend -- they were the new American gods, and Las Vegas was their Mount Olympus.
Martin -- who continued to impress critics in films like the 1959 Howard Hawks classic Rio Bravo -- was Sinatra's right-hand man, the drunkest and most enigmatic member of the Rat Pack (so named in homage to the Holmby Hills Rat Pack, a bygone drinking circle that had once gathered around Humphrey Bogart); his allegiance to Sinatra was total, and Martin even left his longtime label Capitol to record for and financially back Sinatra's own Reprise imprint. In 1960, the Rat Pack starred in Ocean's Eleven, filming in Las Vegas during the day and then taking over the Sands each night; two years later, they reconvened for Sergeants 3. However, in late 1963 -- while filming the third Rat Pack opus, Robin and the Seven Hoods -- the news came that Kennedy had been assassinated; in effect, as America struggled to pick up the pieces, the Rat Pack's reign was over. With Vietnam and the civil rights movement looming on the horizon, there was no longer room for the boozy, happy-go-lucky lifestyle of before -- the fun was truly over.
Yet somehow Martin forged on; in 1964, at the peak of Beatlemania, he knocked the Fab Four out of the top spot on the charts with his single "Everybody Loves Somebody," and that same year starred in Billy Wilder's acrid Kiss Me, Stupid, a film which crystallized his persona as the lecherous but lovable lush. In 1965, after years of overtures from NBC, Martin finally agreed to host his own weekly variety series; The Dean Martin Show was an enormous hit, running for nine seasons before later spawning a number of hit Celebrity Roast specials during the 1970s. In films, he also remained successful, starring in a series of spy spoofs as secret agent Matt Helm. However, by the late '70s, Martin's health began to fail, and his career was primarily confined to casino club stages; in 1987, his son Dean Paul died in an airplane crash, a blow from which he never recovered. After bailing out of a 1988 reunion tour with Sinatra and Davis, Martin spent his final years in solitude; he died on Christmas Day, 1995.
Wikipedia:This article is about the American singer and actor. For the Arizona politician, see Dean Martin (politician). For other people named Dean Martin, see Dean Martin (disambiguation).
Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti; June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) was an American singer, actor, comedian, and film producer.
One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed the "King of Cool" for his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assuredness. He and Jerry Lewis were partners in the immensely popular comedy team "Martin and Lewis". He was a member of the "Rat Pack" and a star in concert stage/nightclubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television. He was the host of the television variety program The Dean Martin Show (1965–1974) and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast (1974–1985).
Martin's relaxed, warbling crooning voice earned him dozens of hit singles including his signature songs "Memories Are Made of This", "That's Amore", "Everybody Loves Somebody", "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You", "Sway", "Volare", and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?".mike says: (2009-07-23). "Dean Martin's Diva Daughter: Elvis Called My Dad 'The King of Cool'". Blog.blogtalkradio.com. Retrieved 2012-11-04. "Dean Martin 'just a golfer' to his kids", thestar.com
Martin was born in Steubenville, Ohio, to an Italian father, Gaetano Alfonso Crocetti (1894–1967), and an Italian-American mother, Angela Crocetti (née Barra; 1899–1966). They were married in 1914. His father, who was a barber, was originally from Montesilvano, in Abruzzo, and his maternal grandparents' origins are believed to be also from Abruzzo even if it is not clearly known. Martin had an older brother named William Alfonso Crocetti (1916-1968). Martin's first language was an Abruzzese dialect of Italian, and he did not speak English until he started school at the age of 5. He attended Grant Elementary School in Steubenville where he was bullied for his broken English, he later took up the drums as a hobby as a teenager. Martin then dropped out of Steubenville High School in the 10th grade because he thought he was smarter than his teachers. He bootlegged liquor, served as a speakeasy croupier, was a blackjack dealer, worked in a steel mill and boxed as a welterweight.
At 15 he was a boxer who billed himself as "Kid Crochet". His prizefighting earned him a broken nose (later straightened), a scarred lip, many broken knuckles (a result of not being able to afford tape used to wrap boxers' hands), and a bruised body. Of his 12 bouts, he said: "I won all but 11." For a time, he roomed with Sonny King, who, like Martin, was starting in show business and had little money. It is said that Martin and King held bare-knuckle matches in their apartment, fighting until one was knocked out; people paid to watch. Martin knocked out King in the first round of an amateur boxing match.
Martin gave up boxing to work as a roulette stickman and croupier in an illegal casino behind a tobacco shop, where he had started as a stock boy. At the same time he sang with local bands, calling himself "Dino Martini" (after the Metropolitan Opera tenor, Nino Martini). He got his break working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra. He sang in a crooning style influenced by Harry Mills (of the Mills Brothers), among others. In the early 1940s, he started singing for bandleader Sammy Watkins, who suggested he change his name to Dean Martin.
In October 1941 Martin married Elizabeth ("Betty") Anne McDonald, they had four children, and the marriage ended in 1949. Martin worked for various bands throughout the early 1940s, mostly on looks and personality until he developed his own singing style. Martin flopped at the Riobamba, a nightclub in New York, when he followed Frank Sinatra in 1943, but it was the setting for their meeting.
Martin was drafted into the United States Army in 1944 during World War II, serving a year in Akron, Ohio. He was reclassified as 4-F and discharged (possibly because of a double hernia; Jerry Lewis referred to the surgery Martin needed for this in his autobiography).
By 1946 Martin was doing well, but he was little more than an East Coast nightclub singer with a common style, similar to that of Bing Crosby. He drew audiences, but he inspired none of the popularity enjoyed by Sinatra or Crosby.Parish, James Robert (2003). Hollywood Songsters: Singers Who ACT and Actors Who Sing: A Biographical Dictionary Volume 2. Routledge. p. 533. ISBN 978-0-415-94333-8. Tosches, Nick. Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams. Vintage, London, 1999, page 57. ISBN 0-7493-9897-3 "Dean Martin Amateur Boxing Record". Boxing-Scoop.com. 1917-06-07. Retrieved 2012-04-15. "Two New to Biz Take Over Riobamba." The Billboard, New York, New York, September 16, 1944, page 24. Link to scanned copy online.
ContentsCareer1.1 Teaming with Jerry Lewis1.2 Solo career1.3 The Rat Pack1.4 The Dean Martin Show1.5 Later career
Teaming with Jerry LewisMain article: Martin and LewisDean Martin and Jerry Lewis c. 1950
Martin attracted the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures, but a Hollywood contract was not forthcoming. He met comic Jerry Lewis at the Glass Hat Club in New York, where both were performing. Martin and Lewis formed a fast friendship which led to their participation in each other's acts and the formation of a music-comedy team.
Martin and Lewis's debut together occurred at Atlantic City's 500 Club on July 24, 1946, and they were not well received. The owner, Skinny D'Amato, warned them that if they did not come up with a better act for their second show that night, they would be fired. Huddling in the alley behind the club, Lewis and Martin agreed to "go for broke", they divided their act between songs, skits, and ad-libbed material. Martin sang and Lewis dressed as a busboy, dropping plates and making a shambles of Martin's performance and the club's decorum until Lewis was chased from the room as Martin pelted him with breadrolls. They did slapstick, reeled off old vaudeville jokes, and did whatever else popped into their heads. The audience laughed. This success led to a series of well-paying engagements on the Eastern seaboard, culminating in a run at New York's Copacabana. The act consisted of Lewis interrupting and heckling Martin while he was trying to sing, with the two ultimately chasing each other around the stage. The secret, both said, is that they ignored the audience and played to each other.
The team made its TV debut on the first broadcast of CBS-TV network's Toast of the Town (later called The Ed Sullivan Show) on June 20, 1948 with Ed Sullivan and Rodgers and Hammerstein also appearing. A radio series began in 1949, the year Martin and Lewis signed with Paramount producer Hal B. Wallis as comedy relief for the movie My Friend Irma.Martin and Lewis in 1955
Their agent, Abby Greshler, negotiated one of Hollywood's best deals: although they received only $75,000 between them for their films with Wallis, Martin and Lewis were free to do one outside film a year, which they would co-produce through their own York Productions. They also controlled their club, record, radio and television appearances, and through these they earned millions of dollars.
In Dean & Me, Lewis calls Martin one of the great comic geniuses of all time. But harsh comments from critics, as well as frustration with the similarity of Martin and Lewis movies, which producer Hal Wallis refused to change, led to Martin's dissatisfaction. He put less enthusiasm into the work, leading to escalating arguments with Lewis. Martin told his partner he was "nothing to me but a dollar sign". The act broke up in 1956, 10 years to the day from the first teaming.
Martin's first solo film, Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957), was a box office failure. He was still popular as a singer, but with rock and roll to the fore, the era of the pop crooner was waning.
Martin wanted to become a real actor, known for more than slapstick comedy films. Though offered a fraction of his former salary to co-star in a war drama, The Young Lions (1958), his part would be with Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. Tony Randall already had the part, but talent agency MCA realized that with this film, Martin would become a triple threat: they could make money from his work in night clubs, films and records. Martin replaced Randall and the film turned out to be the beginning of Martin's comeback.
Martin starred alongside Frank Sinatra for the first time in an acclaimed Vincente Minnelli drama, Some Came Running (1958). By the mid-1960s, Martin was a movie, recording, television and nightclub star, while Lewis' film career declined. Martin was acclaimed as Dude in Rio Bravo (1959), directed by Howard Hawks and also starring John Wayne and singer Ricky Nelson. He would team again with Wayne in The Sons of Katie Elder (1965), cast as brothers.
In 1960, Martin was cast in the film version of the Judy Holliday stage musical comedy Bells Are Ringing. He won a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the 1960 film comedy Who Was That Lady? but continued to seek dramatic roles, portraying a Southern politician in 1961's Ada and starring in 1963's screen adaptation of an intense stage drama, Toys in the Attic, opposite Geraldine Page.
He and Sinatra teamed up for several more movies, the crime caper Ocean's 11, the musical Robin and the 7 Hoods and the western comedies Sergeants 3 and 4 for Texas, some featuring their so-called Rat Pack pals Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, as well as a romantic comedy, Marriage on the Rocks. Martin also co-starred with Shirley MacLaine in a number of films, including Some Came Running, Artists and Models, Career, All in a Night's Work and What a Way to Go!
He played a satiric variation of his own womanizing persona as Las Vegas singer "Dino" in Billy Wilder's comedy Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) with Kim Novak, and he poked fun at his image in films such as the Matt Helm spy spoofs of the 1960s, in which he was a co-producer. In the third Matt Helm film The Ambushers (1967), Helm, about to be executed, receives a last cigarette and tells the provider, "I'll remember you from the great beyond," continuing sotto voce, "somewhere around Steubenville, I hope."
As a singer, Martin copied the styles of Harry Mills (of the Mills Brothers), Bing Crosby, and Perry Como until he developed his own and could hold his own in duets with Sinatra and Crosby. Like Sinatra, he could not read music, but he recorded more than 100 albums and 600 songs. His signature tune, "Everybody Loves Somebody", knocked the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" off number one in the United States in 1964. This was followed by "The Door is Still Open to My Heart", which reached number six that year. Elvis Presley was said to have been influenced by Martin, and patterned "Love Me Tender" after his style.
Martin, like Elvis, was influenced by country music. By 1965, some of Martin's albums, such as Dean "Tex" Martin, The Hit Sound of Dean Martin, Welcome to My World and Gentle On My Mind, were composed of country and western songs by artists such as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. Martin hosted country performers on his TV show and was named "Man Of the Year" by the Country Music Association in 1966.
But the image of Martin as a Vegas entertainer in a tuxedo has been an enduring one. "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?", a song Martin performed in Ocean's 11, did not become a hit at the time, but has enjoyed a revival in the media and pop culture.
For three decades, Martin was among the most popular acts in Las Vegas. Martin sang and was one of the smoothest comics in the business, benefiting from the decade of comedy with Lewis. Martin's daughter, Gail, also sang in Vegas and on his TV show, co-hosting his summer replacement series on NBC. Daughter Deana and son Ricci are singers who continue to perform. Eldest son Craig was a producer on Martin's television show and daughter Claudia was an actress in films such as For Those Who Think Young. Though often thought of as a ladies' man, Martin spent a lot of time with his family; as second wife Jeanne put it, prior to the couple's divorce, "He was home every night for dinner."
The Rat PackOcean's 11 with Buddy Lester, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin.Main article: Rat Pack
As Martin's solo career grew, he and Frank Sinatra became friends. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Martin and Sinatra, along with friends Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis, Jr. formed the Rat Pack, so-called after an earlier group of social friends, the Holmby Hills Rat Pack centered on Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, of which Sinatra had been a member. (The Martin-Sinatra-Davis-Lawford-Bishop group referred to themselves as "The Summit" or "The Clan" and never as "The Rat Pack", although this has remained their identity in popular imagination.) The men made films together, formed part of the Hollywood social scene, and were politically influential (through Lawford's marriage to Patricia Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy).
The Rat Pack was legendary for its Las Vegas Strip performances. For example, the marquee at the Sands Hotel might read DEAN MARTIN—MAYBE FRANK—MAYBE SAMMY. Their appearances were valuable because the city would flood with wealthy gamblers. Their act (always in tuxedo) consisted of each singing individual numbers, duets and trios, along with seemingly improvised slapstick and chatter. In the socially charged 1960s, their jokes revolved around adult themes, such as Sinatra's womanizing and Martin's drinking, as well as Davis's race and religion. Sinatra and Martin supported the civil rights movement and refused to perform in clubs that would not allow African-American or Jewish performers.
Posthumously, the Rat Pack has experienced a popular revival, inspiring the George Clooney/Brad Pitt "Ocean's" trilogy.
The Dean Martin Show
In 1965, Martin launched his weekly NBC comedy-variety series, The Dean Martin Show, which ran for 264 episodes until 1974. The show exploited his image as a carefree boozer. Martin capitalized on his laid-back persona of the half-drunk crooner, hitting on women with remarks that would get anyone else slapped, and making snappy if slurred remarks about fellow celebrities during his roasts. During an interview on the British TV documentary Wine, Women and Song, aired in 1983, he stated, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that he had someone record them on cassette tape so he could listen to them.
His TV show was a success. The show's loose format featured quick-witted improvisation from Martin and his weekly guests. This prompted a battle between Martin and NBC censors, who insisted on more scrutiny of the content. The show was often in the Top Ten. Martin, appreciative of the show's producer, his friend Greg Garrison, made a handshake deal giving Garrison, a pioneer TV producer in the 1950s, 50% of the show. However, the validity of that ownership is the subject of a lawsuit brought by NBCUniversal.
Despite Martin's reputation as a drinker – perpetuated via his vanity license plate "DRUNKY" – he masked his self-discipline. He was often the first to call it a night, and when not on tour or on a film location, liked to go home to see his wife and children. He borrowed the lovable-drunk shtick from Joe E. Lewis, but his convincing portrayals of heavy boozers in Some Came Running and Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo led to unsubstantiated claims of alcoholism.
Martin starred in and co-produced four Matt Helm superspy comedy adventures during this time, as well as a number of Westerns.
By the early 1970s, The Dean Martin Show was still earning solid ratings, and although he was no longer a Top 40 hitmaker, his record albums continued to sell. He found a way to make his passion for golf profitable by offering a signature line golf balls and the Dean Martin Tucson Open was an event on golf's PGA Tour from 1972–75. At his death, Martin was reportedly the single largest minority shareholder of RCA stock.
Now comfortable financially, Martin began reducing his schedule. The final (1973–74) season of his variety show would be retooled into one of celebrity roasts, requiring less involvement. After the show's cancellation, NBC continued to air The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast format in a series of TV specials through 1984. In those 11 years, Martin and his panel of pals made fun of stars in this order: Ronald Reagan, Hugh Hefner, Ed McMahon, William Conrad, Kirk Douglas, Bette Davis, Barry Goldwater, Johnny Carson, Wilt Chamberlain, Hubert Humphrey, Carroll O'Connor, Monty Hall, Jack Klugman & Tony Randall, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Leo Durocher, Truman Capote, Don Rickles, Ralph Nader, Jack Benny, Redd Foxx, Bobby Riggs, George Washington, Dan Rowan & Dick Martin, Hank Aaron, Joe Namath, Bob Hope, Telly Savalas, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, Sammy Davis, Jr., Michael Landon, Evel Knievel, Valerie Harper, Muhammad Ali, Dean Martin himself, Dennis Weaver, Joe Garagiola, Danny Thomas, Angie Dickinson, Gabe Kaplan, Ted Knight, Peter Marshall, Dan Haggerty, Frank Sinatra, Jack Klugman, Jimmy Stewart, George Burns, Betty White, Suzanne Somers, Joan Collins, Kent McCord, Martin Milner, and Mr. T.
For nearly a decade, Martin had recorded as many as four albums a year for Reprise Records. That stopped in November 1974, when Martin recorded his final Reprise album, Once In A While, which was released in 1978. His last recordings were for Warner Brothers Records. An album titled The Nashville Sessions was released in 1983, from which he had a hit with "(I Think That I Just Wrote) My First Country Song", which was recorded with Conway Twitty and made a respectable showing on the country charts. A follow-up single, "L.A. Is My Home" / "Drinking Champagne", came in 1985.
The 1975 film drama Mr. Ricco marked Martin's final starring role, in which he played a criminal defense lawyer. He played a featured role in the 1981 comedy The Cannonball Run and its sequel, both starring Burt Reynolds.
In 1972, he filed for divorce from his second wife, Jeanne. A week later, his business partnership with the Riviera dissolved amid reports of the casino's refusal to agree to Martin's request to perform only once a night. He was taken by the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, where he was the featured performer on the hotel's opening night December 23, 1973, and also signed a three-picture deal with MGM Studios. Less than a month after his second marriage had dissolved, Martin married 26-year-old Catherine Hawn, on April 25, 1973. Hawn had been the receptionist at the chic Gene Shacrove hair salon in Beverly Hills. They divorced November 10, 1976. He was also briefly engaged to Gail Renshaw, Miss World–U.S.A. 1969.
Eventually, Martin reconciled with Jeanne, though they never remarried. He also made a public reconciliation with Jerry Lewis on Lewis' Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon in 1976. Frank Sinatra shocked Lewis by bringing Martin out on stage. As Martin and Lewis embraced, the audience cheered and the phones lit up, resulting in one of the telethon's most profitable years. Lewis reported the event was one of the three most memorable of his life. Lewis quipped, "So, you working?" Martin, playing drunk, replied that he was "at the Meggum" (meaning the MGM Grand). This, with the death of Martin's son Dean Paul Martin a few years later, helped bring the two men together. They maintained a quiet friendship, but only performed again once, in 1989, on Martin's 72nd birthday.Ambalal, Monica. The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd edition. University of Michigan. Oxford University Press, Inc. 2013 Lewis, Jerry (2005). Dean and Me: (A Love Story). Doubleday. p. 223. ISBN 978-0-7679-2086-5. Sinatra, Nancy (1998). Frank Sinatra: An American Legend. Readers Digest Assn. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-7621-0134-4. Metzger, Richard (July 8, 2011), "Richard Metzger: The time I met Dean Martin", Dangerous Minds, retrieved July 11, 2011. Talevski, Nick (2006). Knocking on Heaven's Door: Rock Obituaries. Omnibus Press. p. 399. ISBN 978-1-84609-091-2.
ContentsPersonal life1.1 Later years and end of career1.2 Death1.3 Tributes and legacy
Martin was married three times. Subsequent to the divorce of his first wife, Elizabeth Anne "Betty" McDonald, Martin gained custody of their children; Betty lived out her life in quiet obscurity in San Francisco. Their children were Craig Martin (born 1942), Claudia Martin (born March 16, 1944, died 2001 of breast cancer), Gail Martin (born 1945) and Deana Martin (born 1948).
Martin's second wife was Jeanne Biegger, a former Orange Bowl queen from Coral Gables, Florida. Their marriage lasted 24 years (1949–1973) and produced three children: Dean Paul (November 17, 1951 – March 21, 1987; jet fighter crash), Ricci (born 1953) and Gina (born 1956). Her marriage made Martin the father-in-law of the Beach Boys' Carl Wilson. Figure skater Dorothy Hamill and actress Olivia Hussey were his daughters-in-law during their marriages to Dean Paul Martin.
Martin's third marriage to Catherine Hawn lasted three years. Martin initiated the divorce proceedings. Martin adopted Hawn's daughter, Sasha.
Martin's uncle was Leonard Barr, who appeared in several of his shows.
Later years and end of career
Martin returned to films briefly with appearances in the two star-laden, critically panned but commercially successful The Cannonball Run movies. He also had a minor hit single with "Since I Met You Baby" and made his first music video, which appeared on MTV. The video was created by Martin's youngest son, Ricci.
On March 21, 1987, Martin's son, actor Dean Paul Martin (formerly Dino of the 1960s "teeny-bopper" rock group Dino, Desi & Billy), died when his F-4 Phantom II jet fighter crashed while flying with the California Air National Guard.
Later, a tour with Davis and Sinatra in 1988 sputtered. Martin, who responded best to a club audience, felt lost in the huge stadiums they were performing in at Sinatra's insistence, and he was not interested in drinking until dawn after performances. His final Vegas shows were at Bally's Hotel in 1990. There he had his final reunion with Jerry Lewis on his 72nd birthday. Martin's last two TV appearances involved tributes to his former Rat Pack members. On December 8, 1989, he joined stars in Sammy Davis Jr's 60th anniversary celebration, which aired a few weeks before Davis died from throat cancer. In December 1990, he congratulated Frank Sinatra on his 75th birthday special.
Martin was diagnosed with lung cancer at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in September 1993, and in early 1995 retired from public life. He died of acute respiratory failure resulting from emphysema at his Beverly Hills home on Christmas morning 1995, at age 78. The lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor. His crypt features the epitaph "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime", the name of his signature song.
Martin is interred at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Tributes and legacy
In 1996, Ohio Route 7 through Steubenville, was rededicated as Dean Martin Boulevard. Road signs bearing an Al Hirschfeld caricature of Martin's likeness designate the stretch with a historical marker bearing a small picture and brief biography in the Gazebo Park at Route 7 and North Fourth Street.
An annual Dean Martin Festival celebration is held in Steubenville. Impersonators, friends and family, and entertainers, many of Italian ancestry, appear.
In 2005, Clark County, Nevada, renamed a portion of Industrial Road as Dean Martin Drive. A similarly named street was dedicated in 2008 in Rancho Mirage, California.
Martin's family was presented a gold record in 2004 for Dino: The Essential Dean Martin, his fastest-selling album, which also hit the iTunes Top 10. For the week ending December 23, 2006, the Dean Martin and Martina McBride duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" reached No. 7 on the R&R AC chart. It also went to No. 36 on the R&R Country chart – the last time Martin had a song this high in the charts was in 1965, with the song "I Will," which reached No. 10 on the Pop chart.
An album of duets, Forever Cool, was released by Capitol/EMI in 2007. It features Martin's voice with Kevin Spacey, Shelby Lynne, Joss Stone, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Robbie Williams, McBride and others.
His footprints were immortalized at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 1964. Martin has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one at 6519 Hollywood Boulevard for movies; the second at 1617 Vine for recordings; and a third at 6651 Hollywood Boulevard for television.
In February 2009, Martin was honored with a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Four of his surviving children, Gail, Deana, Ricci and Gina accepted it on his behalf."Famous Epitaph on Dean Martin tomb stone". Famousquotes.me.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-04. Holden, Stephen. Dean Martin, Pop Crooner And Comic Actor, Dies at 78, The New York Times, December 26, 1995. Dean Martin at Find a Grave
In popular culture
A number of Martin songs have been featured across popular culture for decades. Hits such as "Ain't That a Kick in the Head", "Sway", "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You", "That's Amore", and Martin's signature song "Everybody Loves Somebody" have been in films (such as the Oscar-winning Logorama, A Bronx Tale, Casino, Goodfellas, Payback, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Sexy Beast, Moonstruck, Vegas Vacation and Return to Me), television series (such as American Dad!, Friends, The Sopranos, and House MD), video games (such as The Godfather: The Game, The Godfather II, Fallout: New Vegas and Mafia II), and fashion shows (such as the 2008 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show).
Danny Gans portrayed Martin in the 1992 CBS miniseries Sinatra. Martin was portrayed by Joe Mantegna in the 1998 HBO movie about Sinatra and Martin titled The Rat Pack. Mantegna was nominated for both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for the role. British actor Jeremy Northam portrayed the entertainer in the 2002 made-for-TV movie Martin and Lewis, alongside Will & Grace's Sean Hayes as Jerry Lewis.
Martin is the subject of Dean Martin's Wild Party and Dean Martin's Vegas Shindig, a pair of video slot machines found in many casinos. The games feature songs sung by Martin during the bonus feature and the count-up of a player's winnings.
A compilation album called Amore! debuted at Number One on Billboard magazine's Top Pop Catalog Albums chart in its February 21, 2009, issue.