Birthday: June 7, 1917
Died At Age: 78
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Dino Paul Crocetti
Born in: Steubenville, Ohio
Famous as: Actor, Comedian, Singer
Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Jeanne Martin
father: Gaetano Crocetti
mother: Angela Crocetti
siblings: Bill Crocetti
children: Dean Paul Martin
Died on: December 25, 1995
place of death: Beverly Hills
U.S. State: Ohio
Cause of Death: Cancer
Founder/Co-Founder: Reprise Records
education: Grant Elementary School, Steubenville High School
Who was Dean Martin?
Dean Martin, born as Dino Paul Crocetti, was an American singer, actor, as well as a comedian counted amongst the most popular entertainers of the 20th century in the United States. He is best remembered for his shows, ‘The Dean Martin Show’ and ‘The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast’. He also teamed up with Jerry Lewis to form a duo called ‘Martin and Lewis’ that became immensely popular among the audiences. He was a member of the famous ‘Rat Pack’ (which also had members like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.) as well. Charming and talented, Martin had also acted in several films in his long career. His filmography includes ‘The Young Lions’, ‘Some Came Running’, ‘Ocean's 11’, ‘Sergeants 3’, and ‘Who's Got the Action?’ Apart from acting and performing comedy, Martin was a singer as well and had earned a lot of popularity for his hit singles, such as ‘Everybody Loves Somebody’, ‘You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You’, ‘Sway’, ‘Volare’, ‘That's Amore’, ‘Ain't That a Kick in the Head?’, and ‘Memories Are Made of This’. He was known for his pleasant cool personality and many described him as the “King of cool” in the industry.
Childhood & Early Life
Dean Martin was born in Steubenville, Ohio, on June 7, 1917, to Gaetano Alfonso Crocetti, a barber by profession, and Angela Crocetti. Both his parents were of Italian descent. He had an older brother named William Alfonso Crocetti who died in 1968.
He grew up speaking Italian and could not speak English until he was five years old. He was bullied at his first school, Grant Elementary School in Steubenville, for his broken English. Later, he dropped out of Steubenville High School when he was in the 10th grade because he felt he was smarter than his teachers, a reason that sounded odd to several people around him.
After dropping out of the school, he took up many jobs including those of a blackjack dealer and liquor vendor. He also served as a speakeasy croupier and worked in a steel mill. At the age of 15, he picked up boxing to earn some money; this occupation, however, ended up getting him a broken nose, a scarred lip, and several broken knuckles.
He then moved to New York City. In order to make ends meet, he and his roommate Sonny King, who was also trying to build a career in the show business, used to hold bare-knuckle boxing matches in their apartment. The fights wouldn’t end until someone passed out. People paid them for such matches.
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During his early days in New York City when Dean Martin was looking to build his career in the show business and was waiting for an offer from the top production houses from Hollywood, he met Jerry Lewis, another comedian, at the Glass Hat Club. Both were working in shows as comedians and forged a friendship as well as an agreement to work in each other’s shows.
They formed their own act and made their debut at Atlantic City's 500 Club on July 24, 1946. It did not go well and they were warned by the owner of the show to improve their act. They decided to be more ruthless and added songs, slapstick, and old vaudeville jokes to their performances. The crowd loved the “crazy” act and the duo got a lot of praise for their spontaneous actions and eventually, the act earned them a series of well-paying engagements on the Eastern seaboard and also ran at the New York's Copacabana.
Dean Martin also appeared on several short-films as well as feature films. However, his first major role in a film ‘Ten Thousand Bedrooms’ in 1957 did not succeed at the box office.
In 1958, he appeared in the movie ‘The Young Lions’ which became a turning point in Martin’s acting career. Within the next decade, he established himself as a film star working in films like ‘Some Came Running’ alongside the great Frank Sinatra. He also won a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the film ‘Who Was That Lady?’ and later appeared in popular films like ‘Ocean's 11’, ‘Sergeants 3’, and ‘Who's Got the Action?’
After working with the great Frank Sinatra, the two became good friends and formed a team that consisted of Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis Jr. besides the two. The men worked for a long time, making films together, and were so popular that they even influenced the political ideologies held by the masses.
Martin launched his own comedy-variety series ‘The Dean Martin Show’ in 1965 on NBC. The show was a huge hit and Martin was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy’ in 1966, which he eventually won.
At the beginning of his career, Dean Martin’s partnership with fellow comedian Jerry Lewis was one of the highlights in his career. Together they performed on numerous occasions and even went on to appear in New York's Copacabana. They eventually appeared on television as well in the ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’. Their act was praised and loved by the audience and earned them the spotlight they were looking for.
He reached the pinnacle of his career with ‘The Dean Martin Show’ which he launched on NBC in 1965. The show ran for nine years and consisted of 264 episodes. He portrayed himself as a careless drinker who would flirt with women with cheeky pick up lines. Martin won a Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy’ in 1966 and also won three more nominations back to back in the next three years.
Martin delivered a lot of hit singles between 1951 and 1968. He witnessed almost 40 of his popular singles featuring on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during that time period. Among those forty tracks, the three which topped the chart were ‘That's Amore’ in 1953, ‘Memories Are Made of This’ in 1956 and ‘Everybody Loves Somebody’ in 1964.
Awards & Achievements
In 1966, Dean Martin won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy for ‘The Dean Martin Show.’
He was posthumously honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2009.
Dean Martin was married three times. He wed Elizabeth Anne McDonald on October 2, 1941. The couple had four children together, Craig Martin, Claudia Martin, Gail Martin and Deana Martin. Martin and Elizabeth got divorced in 1949.
In September 1949, he married Jeanne Martin. Martin had three children with her, Dean Paul Martin, Ricci Martin, and Gina Martin. Their marriage lasted for 24 years and came to an end on March 29, 1973 through a divorce. Lastly, Martin married Catherine Hawn on April 25, 1973 and got divorced in February 1976.
A heavy smoker, Martin was diagnosed with lung cancer at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in September 1993. On December 25, 1995, he died of acute respiratory failure resulting from emphysema at his Beverly Hills home.
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Martin has a street named after him in Texas.
He was inducted into the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame in 2001.
His signature hit single ‘Everybody Loves Somebody’ is written on his tombstone.
He used to drink apple juice and not real alcohol during stage performances.
He had worked in a total of 17 feature films with his friend Jerry Lewis between 1949 and 1956.