Nationality: American. Born: Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, 17 June 1917. Education: Left school in 10th grade. Family: Married 1) Elizabeth Ann McDonald, 1940 (divorced 1949), four
children; 2) Jeanne Rieggers, 1949 (divorced 1973), three children; 3) Catherine Mae Hawn, 1973 (divorced 1976), adopted daughter: Sasha. Career: Amateur boxer as "Kid Crocket," then worked in steel mill and as clerk and croupier; singer, as Dino Martino, with Ernie McKay's Band; then singer and dealer in gambling houses; 1946—booked in Rio Bamba, New York; teamed with Jerry Lewis in double act, and worked in clubs, radio, and television; 1949—film debut in My Friend Irma ; 1950–55—host, with Lewis, The Colgate Comedy Hour on television; 1956—broke with Lewis, and became solo performer as singer and actor; 1965–74—star of The Dean Martin Show , on television. Died: Of acute respiratory failure, in Beverly Hills, California, 25 December 1995.
Films as Actor:
My Friend Irma (George Marshall) (as Steve Baird)
My Friend Irma Goes West (Walker) (as Steve Baird); At War with the Army (Walker) (as Sgt. Puccinelli)
That's My Boy (Walker) (as Bill Baker); Sailor Beware (Walker) (as Al Crowthers)
Jumping Jacks (Taurog) (as Chick Allen); Road to Bali (Walker) (as himself)
The Stooge (Taurog) (as Bill Miller); Scared Stiff (George Marshall) (as Larry Todd); The Caddy (Taurog) (as Joe Anthony); Money from Home (George Marshall) (as Honey Talk Nelson)
Living It Up (Taurog) (as Steve); Three-Ring Circus (Pevney) (as Pete Nelson)
You're Never Too Young (Taurog) (as Bob Miles); Artists and Models (Tashlin) (as Rick Todd)
Pardners (Taurog) (as Slim Mosely, Jr.); Hollywood or Bust (Tashlin) (as Steve Wiley)
Ten Thousand Bedrooms (Thorpe) (as Ray Hunter)
The Young Lions (Dmytryk) (as Michael Whiteacre); Some Came Running (Minnelli) (as Bama Dillert)
Rio Bravo (Hawks) (as Dude); Career (Anthony) (as Maury Novak)
Who Was That Lady? (Sidney) (as Michael Haney); Bells Are Ringing (Minnelli) (as Jeffrey Moss); Ocean's Eleven (Milestone) (as Sam Harmon); Pepe (Sidney) (as himself)
All in a Night's Work (Anthony) (as Tony Ryder); Ada (Daniel Mann) (as Bo Gillis)
Sergeants 3 (John Sturges) (as Sgt. Chip Deal); The Road to Hong Kong (Panama) (as himself); Who's Got the Action (Daniel Mann) (as Steve Flood)
Come Blow Your Horn (Yorkin) (as the Bum); Toys in the Attic (Hill) (as Julian Berniers); Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (Daniel Mann) (as Jason Steel); Four for Texas (Aldrich) (as Joe Jarrett)
What a Way to Go! (Thompson) (as Leonard Crawley); Robin and the Seven Hoods (Douglas) (as Little John); Kiss Me, Stupid (Wilder) (as Dino)
The Sons of Katie Elder (Hathaway) (as Tom Elder); Marriage on the Rocks (Donohue) (as Ernie Brewer)
The Silencers (Karlson) (as Matt Helm); Texas across the River (Gordon) (as Sam Hollis); Murderer's Row (Levin) (as Matt Helm)
Rough Night in Jericho (Laven) (as Alex Flood); The Ambushers (Levin) (as Matt Helm)
Bandolero! (McLagen) (as Dee Bishop); How to Save a Marriage—and Ruin Your Life (Cook) (as David Sloane); Five Card Stud (Hathaway) (as Van Morgan); The Wrecking Crew (Karlson) (as Matt Helm)
Airport (Seaton) (as Vernon Demerest)
Something Big (McLagen) (as Joe Baker)
Showdown (Seaton) (as Billy Massey)
Mr. Ricco (Bogart) (as Joe Ricco)
Cannonball Run (Needham) (as Jamie Blake)
Bonjour, Monsieur Lewis (Benayoun—doc)
Cannonball Run II (Needham) (as Jamie Blake)
Half-Nelson (Bilson—for TV)
On MARTIN: books—
Parish, James Robert, and William T. Leonard, The Funsters , New Rochelle, New York, 1979.
Wallis, Hal, and Charles Higham, Starmaker , New York, 1980.
Freedland, Michael, Dino: The Dean Martin Story , London, 1984.
Tosches, Nick, Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams , New York, 1992.
Durk & others, Dean Martin: A Complete Guide to the "Total Entertainer", Exeter, 1998.
Levy, Shawn, Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey & the Last Great Showbiz Party , New York, 1998.
Stanley, Alessandra, Dean Martin Plays Moscow , New York, 1998.
Quirk, Lawrence J., The Rat Pack: The Hey-Hey Days of Frank & the Boys , Dallas, 1998.
Schoell, William, Martini Man: The Life of Dean Martin , Dallas, 1999.
Quirk, Lawrence J., The Rat Pack: Neon Lights with the Kings of Cool , New York, 1999.
On MARTIN: articles—
Ciné Revue (Paris), 12 March 1981.
Barth, J., "Kino Dino," in Premiere , February 1992.
Murphy, Mary, "The Days and Nights of Dean Martin," in TV Guide , 16 July 1994.
Krutnik, Frank, "The Handsome Man and His Monkey: The Comic Bondage of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis," in Journal of Popular Film and Television (Washington, D.C.) , Spring 1995.
Obituary, in New York Times , 26 December 1995.
Obituary, in Variety (New York), 1 January 1996.
Obituary, in Classic Images (Muscatine), February 1996.
Legrand, Gérard, "Dean Martin ou Les surprises du nonchaloir," in Positif (Paris), March 1996.
Wolcott, J., "When They Were Kings," in Vanity Fair (New York), May 1997.
Whiteside, J., "Rat Pack 'Hey-Hey' Days Link Vegas to H'w'd Excess," in Variety (New York), 11/17 August 1997.
* * *
Like no other act of the late 1940s, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis burst onto and dominated the American show business scene. An immediate hit in nightclubs, the duo was signed by producer Hal Wallis for Paramount Pictures. With their third film, At War with the Army , released in 1951, Martin and Lewis began a six-year run as major movie stars. In 1952, they moved into first place in the annual Motion Picture Herald listing of top ten ranking stars. Only Artists and Models and Hollywood or Bust (both directed by Frank Tashlin), however, are remembered today except by hardcore Martin and Lewis fans.
In 1956 Martin and Lewis split. Lewis continued in the movies, going on to produce and direct his own pictures, and for a time Martin's career seemed to flounder. Ironically, in retrospect, it was during this period of the late 1950s in which Martin produced his most significant work as a motion picture actor. He was good in The Young Lions , but superb in Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo , in which his reforming drunk demonstrated that in the right part Martin could be a great actor.
Also during this period, Martin shifted away from movies toward other media, principally popular music. In 1958, he produced a pair of million-selling singles in "Return to Me," and "Volare." At that time he also linked up with Frank Sinatra and became a charter member of the so-called "Rat Pack." Sinatra-led films followed: Ocean's Eleven , Sergeants 3 , and Robin and the Seven Hoods . This work led Martin to a revitalized film career in the mid-1960s and so he reemerged back onto the ranking of top stars because of a dismal but popular spoof of James Bond in The Silencers . Martin again played Matt Helm in the sequel, Murderer's Row , but at that point moved to television complete with a popular NBC variety show. This led to gigs in Las Vegas and later Atlantic City so that alone Rio Bravo , sadly, will remain the lone monument to an acting talent wasted.