“The King of Cool”
Born on June 7, 1917 as Dino Paul Crocetti to an Italian family, Dean Martin is best known as a singer and a film actor. He was born in Ohio and had an elder brother, Bill. He dropped out of high school and started working on odd jobs. He did some notorious jobs as well, which included his time as a card dealer in local gambling joints. Dean Martin is quoted to have said:
“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.”
This confirms that he once was a blackjack dealer. He was 17 when he began to sing in nightclubs and ended up as a vocalist for a Cleveland band in 1938 changing his name to Dean Martin in 1940. He signed a contract with the company MCA in New York City, which led to him having his own radio show in 1944. It wasn’t till 1946 that he met Jerry Lewis and then began his journey to stardom.
By 1947 he had teamed up with Jerry and they started doing shows and comedy acts. In 1949, NBC starting to broadcast their regular radio show and in 1950 they made a debut on the TV screen in the show Colgate Comedy Hour.
From 1949 to 1956, Dean and Jerry made a total of 16 films together. Unfortunately, after that they could no longer work together because of their creative differences. From there they both went on their separate ways. Dean went back to his singing career and starring in films. He recorded a number of hit songs for Capitol, these included Oh Marie, When You’re Smiling and Memories are Made of This.
In the 1960s Dean started to perform in Las Vegas with a group of his friends who were part of the Hollywood exclusive group The Rat Pack. Part of this group were Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr. They then moved on to star in famous movies like Ocean’s Eleven in 1960, Sergeants Three in 1962 and Robin and the Seven Hoods in 1964.
Dean Martin starred in a total of 51 films during his lifetime. His record breaking song Everybody Loves Somebody¸ beat the Beatles record and topped the charts in 1964. And so in 1965 started his very own show on NBC network, The Dean Martin Show. It was a variety series that ran for 8 years followed by The Dean Martin Comedy Hour that ran for another year. His portrayal of an alcoholic lush was so realistic that many thought that he actually was one.
Dean married thrice in his life. First to Elizabeth Anne McDonald in 1941 and had 4 children with her. Second to Jeanne Biegger, from 1949 to 1973, and had 3 children with her. His third wide was Catherine Hawn, whom he stayed married to for only 3 years. His eldest son from Jeanne, Dino Paul Jr. died in a plane crash in 1987. Dean finally decided that it was time for him to retire as he started to become ill and could no longer tour with The Rat Pack. On the Christmas of 1995, he died in his Beverly Hills home from a respiratory failure.
Still remembered as ‘The King of Cool’ for his funny and witty remarks, Dean Martin is a legend that will live in our hearts forever.