Date of Birth
7 June 1917, Steubenville, Ohio, USA
Date of Death
25 December 1995, Beverly Hills, California, USA (lung cancer and emphysema)
Dino Paul Crocetti
King Leer (given to him by Life magazine)
5' 11½" (1.82 m)
Though best known for the 51 films he made, Dean Martin was a prizefighter, steel mill laborer, gas station attendant and card shark before seeing the first glimmer of fame. It came when he teamed up with comedian Jerry Lewis in 1946. Films such as At War with the Army (1950) sent the team toward superstardom. After teaming with Lewis, Martin - born Dino Paul Crocetti - became a dramatic actor and the star of a long-running television variety show. Personality conflicts broke up the comedy duo in 1957. Few thought that Martin would go one to achieve solo success, but he did, winning critical acclaim for his role in The Young Lions (1958) with Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. A succession of films followed for the singer-actor, including Some Came Running (1958) with Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra. All would later be members of the "Rat Pack." Martin learned well and proved potent at the box office throughout the 1960s, with films such as Bells Are Ringing (1960) and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), again with Rat Pack pals Sammy Davis Jr. and Sinatra. During much of the 1960s and 1970s Martin's movie persona of a boozing playboy prompted a series of films as secret agent Matt Helm and his own television variety show. Airport (1970) followed, featuring Martin as a pilot. He also played a phony priest in The Cannonball Run (1981). His last public role was a return to the stage, for a cross-country concert tour with Davis and Sinatra. He spoke affectionately of his fellow Rat Packers. "The satisfaction that I get out of working with these two bums is that we have more laughs than the audience has", Martin said.
If there had to be one image for cool, the one man to fit it would be Dean Martin. Born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, he spoke only Italian until age five. Martin came up the hard way, with such jobs as a boxer (named Kid Crochet), a steel mill worker, a gas station worker and a card shark. In 1946 he got his first ticket to stardom, as he teamed up with another hard worker who was also trying to hit it big in Hollywood: Jerry Lewis. The duo were to become one of Hollywood's truly great teams. They lasted 11 years together, and starred in 16 movies. They were unstoppable, but personality conflicts broke up the team. Even without Lewis, Martin was a true superstar. Movies such as The Young Lions (1958) and Rio Bravo (1959) brought him international fame. One of his best remembered films is in Ocean's Eleven (1960), in which he played Sam Harmon alongside the other members of the legendary Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. After this point, Dean went on to more critically acclaimed ventures, such as in Sergeants 3 (1962), Toys in the Attic (1963), and Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963). In 1965 Martin explored a new method for entertaining his fans: Television. That year he hosted one of the most successful TV series in history: "The Dean Martin Show" (1965), which lasted until 1973. In 1965 it won a Golden Globe Award. In 1973 he renamed it "The Dean Martin Comedy Hour", and from 1974 to 1984 it was renamed again, this time "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts". It became one of the most successful TV series in history, skewering such greats as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, James Stewart, George Burns' Milton Berle, Don Rickles Phyllis Diller, and Joe Namath. After the 1980s Martin took it easy--that is, until his son, Dean Paul Martin died in a plane crash in 1987. Devastated by the loss, from which he never recovered, he walked out on a reunion tour with Sinatra and Davis. Martin spent his final years in solitude. He died on Christmas Day, 1995.
Catherine Hawn (25 April 1973 - 24 February 1976) (divorced) 1 child
Jeanne Martin (1 September 1949 - 29 March 1973) (divorced) 3 children
Elizabeth Anne McDonald (2 October 1941 - 23 March 1949) (divorced) 4 children
Cigarette and a glass of alcohol whenever he was doing his night club acts
His son, Dean Paul Martin (Dino), was killed in a plane crash in March 1987.
Member of the "Rat Pack" with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. All appeared in Ocean's Eleven (1960).
Father of Gail Martin, Craig Martin, Claudia Martin, Deana Martin Gina Martin, Ricci Martin and Dean Paul Martin.
Grandfather of Alexander Martin.
Born at 11:55pm-CST
Interred at Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California, USA.
His parents were Gaetano and Angella Crocetti. Although born in Ohio, he spoke only Italian until age 5.
He had a fear of elevators and a love of comic books, which he read his entire life.
His career as a boxer was described by him as follows, "I won all but 11 fights." When asked how many he'd fought, he'd reply, "A dozen." In reality, he fought 36 bouts and won 25 of them under the name Dino Crocetti. He reportedly fought under the nickname Kid Crochet, although no records of fights have been found under that name.
Died exactly 29 years to the day (25 December 1995) after his mother, Angela Crocetti (25 December 1966).
Nephew of actor/comedian Leonard Barr.
Much of the "booze" that he drank on stage during his famous "Rat Pack" performances was really apple juice. (Son Dean Paul Martin spilled this secret, after the variety show ended production, stating that his father couldn't have performed if he'd really drunk that much liquor.)
Father in law of Carole Costello. She was married to Craig Martin, his oldest son & was the daughter of Lou Costello.
From 1973 to 1984, he was the host of the "Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts." In one of the most classic television series of all time, Dean and his panel of actors and comics would shower the guest of honor with insults. This series contained the most famous names in the history of entertainment, such as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, George Burns, James Stewart, Orson Welles, Jack Benny, Phyllis Diller, Milton Berle, Gene Kelly, Don Rickles, Rich Little, John Wayne, and Foster Brooks.
Dean's TV career began in 1950 with The Martin & Lewis Show on The Colgate Comedy Hour, which ran through 1955. He hosted various other shows before reluctantly taking the 1965 gig which turned into a 19-year success under various names.
Dean is one of few actors who have received not just one, but three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for Motion Pictures at 6519 Hollywood Blvd., one for Television at 6651 Hollywood Blvd, and a third for his recording career.
Underwent rhinoplasty when he was 27. The procedure was rumored to have been paid for by Lou Costello among others.
Son-in-law was the late Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys (married to Dean's daughter Gina).
Has a street named after him in San Antonio, Texas.
"Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" - words written on his tombstone, after his signature hit.
Starred (with Jerry Lewis) on NBC Radio's "The Martin and Lewis Show" (1949-1953).
He and Frank Sinatra were best friends, a fact he held very dear to his heart. The two didn't speak much, in the years after Dean quit the "Rat Pack Reunion" tour, but they did reconcile a few months before his death, over dinner - and a breadroll fight.
His friends often described him as easygoing and good natured, loving to laugh and make others laugh. They also said that he was sometimes quiet and liked to spend time alone, and that they seldom knew what he was thinking.
He and former wife Jeanne Martin maintained a friendship after their divorce, and consulted each other on family matters. When his health declined, Jeanne encouraged him not to worry about facing death, and to look at it as the chance he longed for, to be reunited with their son Dean Paul Martin, and with his parents.
His style of singing was initially influenced by Harry Mills of The Mills Brothers.
When 20th Century-Fox fired Marilyn Monroe as his co-star in Something's Got to Give (1962) and then attempted to replace her with Lee Remick, he reminded the studio that he had contractual approval of his co-star, and refused to continue the project without Monroe. His act of loyalty eventually got Marilyn re-hired, but she died of a drug overdose before shooting on this never-finished film could resume.
Although he had almost 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 charts between 1951 and 1968, only three went to number one: "That's Amore" (Capitol: 1953), "Memories Are Made of This" (Capitol: 1956), and his theme song, "Everybody Loves Somebody" (Reprise: 1964).
Despite the legend that he and comedy partner Jerry Lewis always despised each other, the two were actually quite close friends and the tension between the two began in 1956, when "outside people" (as Lewis called them to Peter Bogdanovich) began to "poison" Martin against Lewis. Frank Sinatra eventually staged a public reunion over 20 years after they stopped speaking to each other. Over the next 10 years they became close again.
Is portrayed by Michael Daymond in Power and Beauty (2002) (TV), by Joe Mantegna in The Rat Pack (1998) (TV), by Jeremy Northam in Martin and Lewis (2002) (TV) and by Danny Gans in Sinatra (1992) (TV).
He and the other members of the Rat Pack were banned from Marilyn Monroe's funeral by Joe DiMaggio
Following his diagnosis of lung cancer at Cedars Sinai Medical Center on 16 September 1993, Martin finally quit smoking and even managed to perform briefly, and rather jauntily, at his 77th birthday celebration in June 1994. He declined to have major surgery on his liver and kidneys which doctors told him was necessary to prolong his life, and succumbed to respiratory failure on Christmas Day 1995.
He and Jerry Lewis recorded a radio spot promoting their film The Caddy (1953), and noticing the tape was still rolling, decided to improvise additional radio spots, with Jerry slipping profanities into his dialog. The unedited master recording was surreptitiously taken from the studio and made into a "bootleg" record that sold briskly among collectors.
Although Martin was a Republican, he supported Frank Sinatra's campaign to elect John F. Kennedy as President in 1960.
Had a night-club in North Bay Village, Florida in the late 1970s and early 1980s called Dino's. It was next to Jilly Rizzo's club, Jilly's.
He declined to participate in the March on Washington in August 1963.
Dean was so distraught over the murder of his The Wrecking Crew (1969) co-star and friend Sharon Tate that he abandoned the next already-announced "Matt Helm" motion picture series installment (to be titled "The Ravagers"), and never played the character again.
Although he made out to be a heavy drinker on stage, he mostly used apple juice, but off stage was a Jack Daniels man.
Martin did not party all night with the rest of the "Rat Pack" crew - actually calling themselves "The Clan". He usually went to bed early so he could play golf the next morning. He was obsessed with golf, and once stated in an interview that he would have preferred to be a professional golfer than an entertainer.
He was a close friend of John Wayne and Gary Cooper.
At 16, Dean Martin was a welterweight boxer who compiled a record of 25-11.
One of his favorite hobbies during his reclusive final years was watching westerns on television - the older the better.
In 1962, Martin left Capitol Records and signed with Reprise, the label started and owned by Frank Sinatra. In 1964, he recorded his blockbuster hit, "Everybody Loves Somebody", which beat the Beatles to become the No. 1 hit in America for one week. It became the theme song for his television variety series, "The Dean Martin Show" (1965), which ran on NBC for eight years. Martin followed this with "The Dean Martin Comedy World" (1974), which ran from 1973 to 1974. An indelible part of Martin's television shtick was his comedic portrayal of life as a lush, which many viewers never realized was just an act.
After being drafted into the United States Army and serving a stateside year (1944-45) in Akron, Ohio, during World War II, Martin was classified 4-F and was discharged.
Has 8 children: Stephen Craig Martin (b. June 29th 1942), Claudia Martin (b. March 16th 1944 - died 2001 (breast cancer), Barbara Martin (b. April 11th 1945 and Deana Martin (b. August 19th 1948) with first wife Elizabeth McDonald. Dean Paul Martin (b. November 17th 1951 - died March 21st 1987 (plane crash), Ricci Martin (b. September 20th 1953) and Gina Caroline Martin (b. December 20th 1956) with second wife Jeanne Martin and adopted daughter Sasha Martin with third wife Catherine Hawn.
He was a close friend of Montgomery Clift. Martin was always grateful for the help Clift had given him while filming The Young Lions (1958) - Martin's first major dramatic role - and he would accompany him to parties after the rest of Hollywood had disowned him due to his increasing addictions to drugs and alcohol.
Although Jerry Lewis often made out to be the short guy in his act, he was actually taller than Martin.
Martin's variety show contract was utterly remarkable in how little he was required to participate. Martin felt he performed better cold and took notice of Fred MacMurray's long-standing 65-day "on the set" contract for producer Don Fedderson for My Three Sons. He succeeded in reaching a new plateau on that one by only be contractually required to appear on the set during the taping. All guest stars, no matter how "big" were required to rehearse with stand-ins (see Greg Garrison). As a result, Martin would often happily flub his lines, to the delight of his audience. More often than not, he'd leave the stage and be seen driving off the studio lot in his sports car before taping concluded.
He was awarded 3 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6519 Hollywood Boulevard, for Recording at 1617 Vine Street, and for Television at 6651 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Godfather of Tori Spelling.
The line "Everybody loves somebody sometime" is written on his grave.
If people want to think I get drunk and stay out all night, let 'em. That's how I got here, you know.
I've got seven kids. The three words you hear most around my house are 'hello,' 'goodbye,' and 'I'm pregnant.
To those who felt he joked his way through songs during concert and nightclub appearences: "You wanna hear it straight, buy the album."
Upon filing for divorce from his second wife: "I know it's the gentlemanly thing to let the wife file. But, then, everybody knows I'm no gentleman."
I drink because my body craves, needs alcohol. I don't drink, my body's a drunk.
On Joey Bishop: Most people think of Joey Bishop as just a replacement for Johnny Carson. That's NOT true. We in show business know better: we don't think of him at ALL.
On Phyllis Diller: Phyllis is the women of about whom Picasso once said, "Somebody throw a drop cloth over that."
On Frank Sinatra: In high school, Frank never participated in extra-curricular activities, like nature study, paintings or ceramics. Frank's hobby was a most interesting one: he was an amateur gynecologist.
On James Stewart: There's a statue of Jimmy Stewart in the Hollywood Wax Museum, and the statue talks better than he does.
On Orson Welles: What can you say about Orson Welles that Don Rickles hasn't already said about him?!
On Bob Hope: As a young boy, Bob didn't have much to say. He couldn't afford writers then.
On Don Rickles: Don's idea of a fun evening is to show home movies of the attack on Pearl Harbor...with a laugh track.
On Johnny Carson: Johnny Carson is a comedian who is seen every night in millions of bedrooms all over America...and that's why his last wife left him.
On Milton Berle: Milton Berle is an inspiration to every young person that wants to get into show business. Hard work, perseverance, and discipline: all the things you need...when you have no talent.
On his tee-total friend Pat Boone: "I once shook hands with Pat Boone, and my whole right side sobered up!"
I'd hate to be a teetotaler. Imagine getting up in the morning and knowing that's as good as you're going to feel all day.
I can't stand an actor or actress who tells me acting is hard work. It's easy work. Anyone who says it isn't never had to stand on his feet all day dealing blackjack.
Motivation is a lotta crap.
"Someone else, would have laid around, feeling sorry for himself, for a year. But Duke, he just doesn't know, how to be sick ... he's recuperating the hard way. He's two loud speaking guys in one. Me, when people see me, they sometimes say, 'Oh, there goes Perry Como.' But there's only one 'John Wayne', and nobody makes any mistakes about that." - On The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
[On Shirley MacLaine] Shirley, I love her, but her oars aren't touching the water these days.
[On singer Eddie Fisher] The reason I drink is because, when I'm sober, I think I'm Eddie Fisher.
[On Frank Sinatra] When he dies, they're giving his zipper to the Smithsonian.
[On Jerry Lewis] At some point, he said to himself, "I'm extraordinary, like Charles Chaplin". From then on, nobody could tell him anything. He knew it all.