Dean Martin"Dino" 1917 - 1995

 

One of the most gifted, enduring and compelling entertainers of all time, the incredible legend of the smooth, cool and detached Dean Martin transcends decades of success and tragedy and even death itself. The son of an Italian immigrant barber, Martin grew up in Steubenville, Ohio, and only spoke Italian until he was 5 years old. His early endeavors included work in the steel mills, running bootleg liquor and working as a croupier in a local speakeasy. With an early career as a boxer, he had a broken nose fixed and found he could croon a song with a rich baritone voice.

His teaming with comedian Jerry Lewis, had brought him from a night club act to Hollywood and early movies which peaked at the point where the two split up. With rakish good looks, a melodious voice and magnetic and engaging personality plus and easygoing and often rebellious style and demeanor, Martin transitioned easily into the entertainment arena as a singer, comedian and dramatic actor while captivating audiences, in his top rated television show ("The Dean Martin Show", which became the highest rated show in the nation.), a star on stage and screen while turning out hit after hit as a recording artist - singing in both Italian and English.

His recording and nightclub performances, headlining in Las Vegas, as well as his movie career, showed range… from The Matt Helm series, a comedic forerunner of the James Bond series, and his Broadway plays (Toys in the Attic), and dramatic western films. All this made Dean one of the most successful Stars in show business. His music and films still draw adoring fans.

Martin's natural good looks, tremendous abilities and apparent affability belayed the fact that he was a diligent worker who stove for perfection as a recording artist, a gifted Hollywood actor and one of the most endearing night club, television and film entertainers of all time. Many admirers still remember his ever-present highball glass, lit cigarette and golden suntan as he traded jokes with or crooned to the audience.

A charter member of the legendary "Rat Pack", with Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr. and Shirley MacLaine, Martin enjoyed the "high life" of a mega star in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Though constantly in the spotlight, throughout his career, Martin shunned stardom and tried, often unsuccessfully, to maintain his privacy.

Despite his stardom and fame, Martin cherished his role as a devoted father, loving husband and "family man". In 1987, Martin's seemingly carefree life was dramatically changed forever when his son Dean Paul Martin, a pilot in the California Air National Guard, died when his F-4 Phantom fighter jet crashed in the California mountains. Confidants say Dean never recovered form the tragedy and slipped into a self-imposed exile. A Virtual recluse during his final years, he died in 1995 on Christmas Day.

Dean's music and songs can still be heard in Italian restaurants throughout the world, and many of these establishments proudly display at least one picture of "Dino" on their walls. Michael Coupe captures forever… the wink and the flirtatious grin of this mega-star, who loved his music and acting, a ladies man, who loved his family, and his Italian heritage, and above all, it's there in his eyes and the easy confidence of his great talent.

 

 
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