Produced in Steubenville, Ohio, on June 7, 1917, to Italian immigrants, Dean Martin entered the club circuit and got a contract with MCA to sing in Nyc. There he met Jerry Lewis and they began a long-running humor partnership on radio, television and movie. The team break in 1956, and Martin joined the Rat Pack—additionally including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford—in Las Vegas stage shows and on movie. Martin expired on December 25, 1995, in Beverly Hills, California.
Celebrity and singer Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio on June 7, 1917. Martin was the youngest of two sons, the earliest being Bill Crocetti, born to Italian immigrants.
After dropping out of Steubenville High School in the 10h level, Martin worked odd jobs, including a part time occupation as an amateur welterweight fighter below the name “Kid Crochet.” Martin also dabbled in prohibited actions, including driving spirits across state lines during prohibition, selling lottery tickets, acting as a bookie and working as a card dealer and croupier in local gaming joints.
Martin started his show business career at age 17, singing in Ohio clubs near his hometown. Throughout a stint with all the Ernie McKay group, he was seen by Cleveland bandleader Sammy Watkins, who hired him as the group’s featured vocalist. He started touring with Watkins in 1938, and in 1940, switched his name to Dean Martin.
In September 1943, Martin signed an exclusive contract with MCA to sing in the Riobamba Room in The Big Apple, as well as in 1944, he was given his own 15-minute radio program entitled Songs by Dean Martin, that was broadcast from Nyc. In 1946, he signed a contract and recorded four tunes with Diamond Records.
Within a nightclub battle in 1946, Martin met Jerry Lewis as well as the two started joking around with each other during their various acts. The hugely popular Martin and Lewis team made 16 movies jointly between 1949 and 1956.
Martin and Lewis last performed jointly in the Copacabana in Nyc, on July 24, 1956. After a decade as a team, they split up due to creative differences. Based on biographical writer Neil Daniels, lovers of the well-known comedy duo “looked at them as really being a married couple practically. When the break up happened, it was, it had been like a sudden divorce, and that I believe it really, truly shocked folks. Because they believed Martin and Lewis would go on eternally.”
After striking out by himself, Martin resumed his singing career, recording such success records for Capitol as “That’s Amore,” “Memories are Made of This,” “When You Are Smiling” and “Oh Marie.” He also restarted playing in movies, as well as in 1958, Martin received critical acclaim after appearing with Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando in The Young Lions.
It was around now that Martin started performing in Las Vegas having several close pals who have been members of the infamous Hollywood clique called the Rat Pack. The group, which contained Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford, epitomized the highlife, alcohol, girls and the glowing lights of Vegas, but soon branched out from Vegas to the pictures.
In 1962, Martin left Capitol Records and signed with Reprise. It became the theme song because of his television variety show, The Dean Martin Show, which ran on NBC for eight years, starting in 1965.
Martin followed the show with all The Dean Martin Comedy Hour, which ran from 1973 to ’74. An indelible element of Martin’s TV “schtick” was his comedic portrayal of life as an alcoholic lush, which many folks never understood was only an act. Among his comedic quotations about booze, Martin is remembered for saying, “I feel sorry for those who do not drink. They awake each day and that is the best they are likely to feel all day long.”
His union to Hawn finished in 1976.
Martin endured a terrible loss when his son, Dino Jr., was killed in a plane crash during a military training exercise in 1987. He retired from show business after a 198889 concert tour with fellow Rat Packers Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra, which finished for Martin after he became sick and was replaced by Liza Minnelli for the rest of the tour.
Dean Martin died of acute respiratory failure on Christmas morning in 1995, in the age of 78, in Beverly Hills, California. Now, Martin is regarded as a mythical screen and stage performer, and is famous for his comedic partnership with Jerry Lewis, in addition to for his involvement in the iconic Rat Pack.