Born Dino Paul Crocetti, June 17, 1917, in Steubenville, OH; died of respiratory failure, December 25, 1995, in Beverly Hills, CA. Actor and singer. DeanMartin, the man with the velvet voice and the glass of liquor in his hand, isperhaps best remembered for his partnership with comedian Jerry Lewis, withwhom he made 16 films between 1949 and 1956. The son of an Italian immigrantbarber, Martin was born and raised in Steubenville, Ohio, a factory town on the Ohio River. He left school after the tenth grade and worked at a variety of occupations, including running bootleg liquor during Prohibition, prize fighting, shining shoes, pumping gas, and working as a laborer in a steel mill.Later he became a stickman and croupier in the gambling casinos of Steubenville, and his habit of humming while dealing led to a contract to sing in Cleveland.
Martin's career took a major turn in 1946, when he appeared on the same billwith Jerry Lewis at the 500 Club in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The pair established a comedy routine--Martin, the straight man, tried to sing, while Lewis, playing a busboy, continually interrupted--appearing at the Copacabana in New York and on The Ed Sullivan Show before moving to Hollywood in 1948. Martin broke his partnership with Lewis in 1956 and headed out on his own. Despitepredictions that he could not survive without Lewis, Martin established careers as a serious actor, appearing with Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift inThe Young Lions (1958) and with Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine in Some Came Running (1959), and as a recording artist. His records That's Amore (1953), Return to Me (1958), Volare (1958), and Everybody Loves Somebody (1964) allsold more than a million copies. Martin also hosted his own television variety show, The Dean Martin Show, from 1965 to 1974. Although the alcoholic persona Martin developed for the program was largely an invention, in his later years the star began to drink heavily. The drinking became much worse after the much-publicized death of Martin's son Dino in an airplane crash in 1987. Frank Sinatra, whom Martin regarded as his best friend, declared in a statementexcerpted in the Los Angeles Times, "Dean was my brother--not through blood,but through choice."