Facts about Dean Martin
Dean Martin Biography
Dean Martin had a long career in music and comedy, mostly in the guise of a bemused and handsome crooner of ballads. With his Italian good looks, wavy hair and velvety voice, he was regarded as an icon of laid-back cool for much of his life.
Between 1949 and 1956, Dean Martin made 16 films as the singing straight man to his comedy partner Jerry Lewis. The two got started in nightclubs, with Lewis’s slapstick a counterpoint to Martin’s smooth charms; soon they blew up into one of America’s hottest entertainment acts. After their bitter (and much-publicized) breakup in 1956, Martin went out on his own as a singer and recording artist, with hit songs like “That’s Amore,” “Everybody Loves Somebody” and “Ain’t That A Kick In the Head.”
Dean Martin also became a regular member of Frank Sinatra‘s so-called Rat Pack, appearing alongside Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. in their famous Las Vegas nightclub act of the early 1960s. He also made movies with Sinatra, like Some Came Running (1958), Ocean’s Eleven (1960) and Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964). He took other comedy and dramatic roles on his own, including the 1959 western Rio Bravo (with John Wayne and Walter Brennan) and the spoofy Matt Helm spy movies of the 1960s.
In later years, Dean Martin’s on-stage persona turned into an amiable parody of his past self, an easygoing swinger always holding a cigarette and a glass of booze. The approach helped make him a hit on television, where he hosted a comedy and variety hour called The Dean Martin Show from 1965-74, then led a decade of irregular Dean Martin Celebrity Roast TV specials.
His career wound down in the 1980s; a lifelong smoker, he died of complications from emphysema in 1995. The marker on his crypt reads, “Dean Martin, June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995, Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.”
Dean Martin was married three times: to Elizabeth “Betty” McDonald (from 1941 until their divorce in 1949), to Jeanne Biegger (from 1949 until their divorce in 1973) and to Catherine Hawn (from 1973 until their divorce in 1976). He had eight children in all… Dean Martin’s son Dean Paul (also known as Dino) was an actor, singer and sometime tennis pro; a member of the California Air National Guard, Dean Paul died in a plane crash in 1987… Other members of the Rat Pack included comedian Joey Bishop and actor Peter Lawford.