Playboy has called him the coolest man who has ever lived. Elvis Presley worshiped him, and Stevie Van Zandt recalls that he was the coolest man he had ever seen. He said that he was not just great at everything he did, but he was perfect. Yes, that man is Dean Martin. Simply said, he was a great singer. The warm sensuality that Dean Martin had in his voice continues to beguile generations of music fans with a winning style, as well as a touch of mystery.
- Who was Dean Martin?
Dean Martin, born as Dino Paul Crocetti on the 7th of June, 1917, and died on the 25th of December, 1995, was an American singer, comedian, actor and producer.
One of the most popular, as well as enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin, has been nicknamed ‘The King of Cool’ because of his seemingly effortless charisma, and self-assurance.
The first single that he released was ‘Which Way Did My Heart Go?’ and was first paired with the comic Jerry Lewis. Both of them shared a bill at the 500 Club in Atlantic City, and that night when they made a combination of their acts into a combo of manic comedy, as well as debonair music, a new phenomenon was born. They were the best partners around and parlayed their onstage success into a string of hit movies, as well as television appearances.
They formed the immensely popular comedy the duo, Martin and Lewis, with Martin serving as the straight man to the slapstick hijinks of Lewis. Being a member of the ‘Rat Pack,’ Martin went on to become the star of concert stages, audio recordings, nightclubs, motion pictures, as well as television.
Martin was also the host of the television variety programs, The Dean Martin Show, and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. His relaxed, as well as warbling, crooning voice earned him dozens of hit singles. During the decade-long partnership of Martin and Lewis, Dean had hits which include his signature songs, “Memories Are Made of This,” “That’s Amore,” Everybody Loves Somebody,” “You Are Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” “Sway,” and others.
- Early life and career.
As we already mentioned, Dean Martin was born on the 7th of June, 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio, and his father is an Italian named Gaetano Alfonso Crocetti and his mother is Italian-American, named Angela Crocetti. His parents were married in 1914. Dean Martin’s first language was Italian, and he was not speaking English until he started school at the age of five. He attended Grant Elementary School in Steubenville where we were bulled for his not so good English.
As a teenager, he played the drums as a hobby. He also dropped out of Steubenville High School in the tenth grade because he thought he has been smarter than his teachers.
While he was younger, he has worked locally in steel mills, delivered bootleg liquor, was a prizefighter, and also had a job in a casino. After he appeared in local nightspots as a pop singer, he has been hired by bandleader Sammy Watkins and started to tour. At the time of an engagement in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1946, he together with another performer, Jerry Lewis, who we already mentioned, started clowning around during each other’s acts.
This actually led to the immensely successful comedy partnership which featured Martin as a suave straight man and Lewis as an immature clown. Before long, the two of them left New York for Hollywood. They made 16 motion pictures together, starting with My Friend Irma and ending with Hollywood or Bust.
Despite the predictions which Martin would fail as a solo act, his career prospered after he ended his partnership with Lewis. Martin struck gold with his hit songs like “That’s Amore,” “Memories Are Made of This,” and “Everybody Loves Somebody.”
At the same time, he kept his acting career alive, starring in certain films like The Young Lions, Some Came Running, Rio Bravo, Bells Are Ringing, Toys in the Attic and Airport.
Additionally to this, Martin also performed in several movies with his fellow Hollywood clique members-dubbed the ‘Rat Pack’ – including Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr., notably the heist film Ocean’s Eleven, the comedy titled Sergeants 3, and also the musical comedy Robin and the Seven Hoods.
Dean Martin fueled his image as a boozing playboy in onstage antics with his friends and ring-a0ding ensemble films, such as Ocean’s Eleven, but still, he, later on, claimed his cocktail-swilling persona had been largely a pose.
Although he left Carpool to sing with the fledgling Reprise label of Sinatra, Martin has capped his tenure there with a band, releasing two classic singles, “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” and “You’re Nobody ‘Till Somebody Loves You,” which showcased him at the height of his powers.
Dean Martin has been a staple on television for a lot of years. His television variety show, which was titled The Dean Martin Show, started an eight-year run in 1965 and it has been followed by The Dean Martin Comedy Hour. Even though Dean Martin usually seemed to be intoxicated at the time of his television, as well as nightclub performances – an impression which was aided by his easygoing manner and slurred singing style – he and his friends insisted it was part of his act.
He was also described as a classic menefreghista, which is the Italian word for ‘one who does not give a f**k.’ In the case of Dean Martin, this term conveys not indifference but a refusal to be beaten down by the world, as well as determination to a great life with an easy smile, a graceful melody or an aura of unflappable cool.