7 June, 1917 - 25 December, 1995
"If people want to think I get drunk and stay out all night, let 'em. That's how I got here, you know"
Legend of the music and film business, Dean Martin was famous for her partnership with Jerry Lewis
, his crooning voice and being a member of the "Rat Pack". Nicknamed "Dino", he spoke only Italian until he was 5 years old and used to box under the name Kid Crochet. Before becoming famous he held jobs as a steel mill worker, a gas station attendant and a card shark at an illegal casino. He sung with local bands in the early days and it wasn't until 1946, when he met Jerry Lewis
at the Glass Hat Club in New York, that he started to becoming noticed.
They decided to form a comedy duo and incorporated improvisation, slapstick and old vaudeville jokes to entertain their crowds. They both said that their secret was that they essentially ignored the audience and played to one another. They made their first movie in 1949 in My Friend Irma and would go on to make 16 movies together over a 10 year period. They were the biggest and hottest partnership act in the 1950's. Unfortunately the act broke up in 1956 due to personality conflicts. Dean played straight man to Lewis funny man and it was due to this that critics considered Lewis the real talent and Dean as nothing more than a spare tire.
Because the media did not believe that Dean could success without Lewis he found it harder to establish a solo career. He wanted to be considered as a real actor and tried his hand at dramatic roles. He starred in The Young Lions (1957) opposite Marlon Brando
and Montgomery Clift a
nd Frank Sinatra
in Some Came Running (1958). By the mid 1960's he was a top movie star and singer who had proved that he could survive without Lewis.
In 1960 Dean made the hit movie Oceans Eleven with fellow "Rat Packers" Frank Sinatra
, Sammy Davis Junior, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. They were famous for their Las Vegas performances where they would sing, perform slapstick and improvised, always wearing tuxedo's. Dean developed the nickname "King of Cool" and his stage image became familiar with audiences; that of him holding a glass of alcohol, which was mostly apple juice.
Although Dean could not read music (like Frank Sinatra
), he recorded more than 100 albums and over 600 songs, including "Everybody Loves Somebody" (which became his theme song) and "That's Amore". He was a fan on comic books, which he read all his life, he had a fear of elevators, was rumoured to have Mafia connection who supposedly helped out his career and was Godfather to Tori Spelling.