Legend Dean Martin (7th June 7, 1917 – 25th December 1995) on ZANI 

Written by Cameron K
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Dino Crocetti was born in 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio, to Italian immigrants. His father a barber, and his mother, a cook. Dino was the second son, and the family spoke Italian until he went to school. Consequently, Dino was picked on at school and soon learned to fight. He left school as soon as possible and started working in the local steel mills.
 
With his boxer’s nose remodelled, he dropped Martini for Martin and was crooning to the joy of club audiences in New York. Harry Mills of the Mills Brothers and Bing Crosby influenced the mellow-voiced baritone. He perfected his singing style on the nightclub circuit until he was eventually drafted into the United States Army. He served stateside for a year (1944-45), but he was classified 4-F and discharged because of a hernia. By 1946, Dean was back on the club circuit and met Frank Sinatra (Riobomba) and comic Jerry Lewis (Glass Hat Club in New York), among many other up-and-coming celebrities. He made his first record, “Which way did my heart go?” (1946), and had a screen test by MGM, but nothing came from either opportunity.
 
More by chance than planning, he and Jerry Lewis formed an on-stage partnership initially dubbed “The Monkey and the Organ Grinder." Their wildly improvisational comedy soon made them a popular club act, and in 1949 they had their radio show. In the same year, they made their film debut, My Friend Irma, and a sequel came a year later, My Friend Irma Goes West.
 
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By the early 1950s, Martin and Lewis were the hottest act in America, but pace and pressure took its toll. In 1953, Dean had scored a huge worldwide hit with "That's Amore,” but his critics felt he would amount to nothing with Jerry Lewis. The act broke up in 1956.
 
He won critical acclaim after appearing in the movie, The Young Lions (1958). The same year NBC ran The Dean Martin Show, which was broadcast in colour, and to complete his hat trick, Dino recorded “Volare,” which was a runaway success. By the mid-1960s, Dean was a top movie, recording, and nightclub attraction. During the sixties, Dean was an active member of the Rat Pack. The original Holmby Hills Rat Pack was started in the 1950s by Humphrey Bogart. Membership included. Pack Master – Frank Sinatra; First Vice President Judy Garland; Den Mother Lauren Bacall Rat in charge of Public Relations Humphrey Bogart; Recording secretary and treasurer Swifty Lazar; Historian Nathaniel Benchley: and Rats - David Niven, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, George Cukor, Michael Romanoff, and James Van Heusen. As the decade passed, a new set of members, including Dean, were introduced to the close-knit community of celebrities. The 60s Rat Pack featured a lineup including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop.
 
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Contrary to the popular myth, the 1960s Rat Pack had female participants (Rat Pack Mascots), including Shirley MacLaine, Angie Dickinson, and Juliet Prowse. The Pack made four films which Dean featured in all four: Ocean's Eleven (1960), Sergeants 3 (1962), 4 for Texas (1963), and Robin and the Seven. Throughout the 1960s, the Rat Pack performed in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was instrumental in the rise of Las Vegas as a popular entertainment destination. In 1965, he launched his weekly NBC comedy-variety series. The show's loose format prompted comedic, quick-witted improvisation, which made the show all the more popular.
 
Dean developed his on-screen persona and carefully crafted his ‘menefreghista’ attitude, always appearing on screen and on stage smoking and with a drink never far from his hand. Privately, the man was quite different from his public persona. His albums continued to sell well throughout the seventies, but he stopped his studio work in 1974 and only started to record again in 1983. His last starring role was in 1975 and the movie Mr. Ricco. Dean then limited his live performances to Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
 

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In 1987 the news of his son’s death completely devastated Dean Martin, who became more and more reclusive. It was widely reported, though never confirmed, that Martin was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1991 and died of respiratory failure on Christmas Day, 1995.
 
Used by Kind Permission
 
 
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Read 351 times Last modified on Monday, 16 May 2022 14:57
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Cameron K

Cameron K

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