This is Biography Dino Paul Crocetti (Dean Martin’s real name) was born on 7 June 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio, to Italian parents: his mother, Angela Barra, was from Campania, while his father, Gaetano Crocetti, came from Montesilvano in Abruzzo. After learning the English language (and above all spelling) with some difficulty (he could only speak Italian until the age of five), as an adolescent he showed that his vocation was for show business: it is no coincidence that he always wore a hat on his head, even when he walked around the house.
Marked by a rather turbulent character (as a twelve-year-old, there was no shortage of fights with the little hooligans in his neighbourhood) but also loyal and caring, he left school after turning sixteen and worked his way up as a petrol station attendant and even as a boxer (under the name Kid Crochett, but without much satisfaction: paid ten dollars per fight, he won only one of the twelve matches he was allowed to contest), trying to establish himself in the meantime as a singer: and so, after changing his name to Dean Martin (a more American-friendly pseudonym, with “Martin” deriving from the anglophonisation of “Martini”, the surname of a famous Italian tenor), he made his singing skills known at the tables of the biggest and most beautiful casino in his part of the world, the “Rex”, where he proved to be a very skilful dealer (and where, instead of chips, only silver dollars were used).
He lent his voice to Bing Crosby’s hits, which he was able to imitate with mastery, but soon, between one “Ohi Marì” and another, he realised that his voice could be just as powerful and persuasive. And so, at a time when the Spaghetti Boys (Pierino Como, Lou Costello – Gianni and Pinotto’s Pinotto – and, of course, Frank Sinatra) were emerging, Dino performed for the first time with Jerry Lewis on 25 July 1946 in Atlantic City, at the “Club 500”.
From that moment on, the two artists formed an exceptionally successful comic duo, destined to entertain Americans for the next ten years: they made sixteen films together, starting with “My Friend Irma” in 1949, up to “Hollywood or Death!”, released seven years later, and they also collaborated on television (their debut on the small screen was in 1950 with “The Colgate Comedy Hour”).
In the meantime, Dean was successful as a singer, releasing “That’s amore” in 1954, written by Harry Warren, his Italian-American colleague: a declaration of love for Naples, pizza and the tarantella.
Martin’s partnership with Lewis broke up on 24 July 1956 due to personal disagreements and he contradicted those who believed that his professional fortunes would have taken a turn for the worse without his partner. As a solo artist, the Italian-American actor achieved great success, not only in comedy, as was to be expected, but also in dramatic films such as ‘The Young Lions’ (in 1958, alongside Marlon Brando) and ‘A Dollar of Honour’ (in 1959, alongside John Wayne).
After recording in Italian the songs ‘Simpatico’, ‘In Napoli’ and ‘Innamorata’, in the 1960s he joined the Rat Pack, a group of singers and actors led by Frank Sinatra. With them, he performed in the films ‘Big Shot’, ‘The Chicago Four’ and ‘Three Against All’, among others. During his performances, he often plays a drinker, although what he swallows is apple juice and not alcohol.
Towards the end of the 1960s, Martin played Matt Helm, a secret agent, in four films, and in the meantime he began to present ‘The Dean Martin Show’ on NBC, a weekly show that continued until 1974.
Health problems slowed down his career in the 1970s: from 1971 to 1985, he only starred in the films “Something Big”, “Open Face”, “Mr. Rich Joe” and “Half Nelson”, as well as the double-feature “America’s Craziest Run”. In 1987, while his son Dean Paul died in a plane crash at the age of 35, he made the last film of his artistic career, “Parallel Conjurations”, before retiring the following year after a tour alongside Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra.
He died in Beverly Hills on 25 December 1995, due to emphysema, which occurred after years of physical and mental problems: a few days earlier, Frank Sinatra had avoided inviting him to the party organised to celebrate his eightieth birthday. According to some, Sinatra did not want to see his friend, who was now reduced to a vegetable. According to others, the relationship between the two had deteriorated when Martin interrupted the tour when Dean Paul died.
He is buried in California, in the Westwood cemetery: his tombstone bears the epitaph ‘Everybody loves somebody sometime’. His grave is inscribed with the epitaph ‘Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime’, from the title of one of his most famous songs, which was able to oust the Beatles from the sales charts.
Called ‘the king of cool’ by Elvis Presley and ‘coolest man who ever lived’ by Playboy Magazine, Martin was married three times and fathered eight children, one of whom was adopted. In Italy, Dean Martin was dubbed mainly by Gualtiero De Angelis (who lent him his voice, among others, in “My Friend Irma”, “How to Deceive My Husband”, “Texas Across the River”, A dollar of honor”, “Ada Dallas”, “Watch out for sailors”), but also by Giuseppe Rinaldi (in “Colpo gross”, “Kiss me stupid”), Luigi Vannucchi (“Bandolero”) and Pino Locchi (“Three-way pact” and “Open face”).
Dean Martin Sings 1953
Swingin’ Down Yonder 1955
Pretty Baby 1957
Sleep Warm 1959
A Winter Romance 1959
This Time I’m Swingin’! 1960
Italian Love Songs 1962
Cha-Cha de Amor 1962
French Style 1962
Dino Latino 1962
Country Style 1963
Everybody Loves Somebody 1964
Dream With Dean 1964
The Door Is Still Open to My Heart 1964
Dean Martin Hits Again 1965
(Remember Me) I’m the One Who Loves You 1965
The Dean Martin Christmas Album 1966
Happiness Is Dean Martin 1967
Welcome to My World 1967
Gentle on My Mind 1968
I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am 1969
My Woman, My Woman, My Wife 1970