Samantha, over at Musings Of A Classic Film Addict, is hosting this blogathon all about Dean Martin. Be sure to visit her site to read all the other entries. I can’t wait to read them myself.
This year marks the centenary of Dean’s birth. In honour of this occasion, I want to write a little piece about how much I love Dean.
Smooth, funny, private, cool, effortless, handsome, and warm hearted are all words that I would use to describe Dean Martin.I like how Dean seemed to be able to fit easily into whatever career path he took. From singer, to comic, to actor; Dean made it seem like he had always been working in that particular job forever. He just made everything he did seem effortless and natural.
Several of my friends know of my love for all things Dean Martin. I especially love his incredible singing voice. I am even envious of a friend who came across a Dean Martin slot machine whilst on holiday in Las Vegas! As random as that sounds, I know I would have got a real kick out of seeing that. 🙂
To me, Dean always comes across (in his many TV, film and stage appearances)as someone who it would be fun to hang out with; you just know you would have had some laughs with this man in real life. I also like how he has this aura of fun around him all the time. He was like the favourite uncle, someone who you looked forward to seeing and who would always make you smile.
I first became aware of Dean through his work as a singer. My parents like his singing, and as I was growing up I’d often hear his songs playing in our house. As I’ve grown older, I’ve sought out more of his music and become acquainted with his film and TV work too.
I especially enjoy watching his Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts (TV) episodes. These are guaranteed to have me crying with laughter. Some of the references I don’t get (not being American or being born long after the time these aired)but the majority of the material still works on me today. Dean is the host and master of ceremonies for this series. Each episode a different group of celebrities(and some regulars like Dean and Don Rickles) ranging from actors to politicians, pokes fun at a different guest. Dean instigates many mirth inducing scenes and cracks up a great deal himself at some of the things said about him. I love how this series makes you feel as though you are in that room with those guys, and that you’re there laughing with them.
I like that Dean always comes across as likeable and fun. I love his act of seeming to be drunk all the time (which really fooled some people into believing he was drunk for real.) We love him for being Dean and we wouldn’t have him any other way.
Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in Ohio, in June, 1917. He went on to make a name for himself as a singer, comedian, and became a leading member of his friend Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack. In 1945, Dean met a young comic called Jerry Lewis at a club where they were both performing. From 1946 onwards they went on to become one of the most beloved duos in comic history. The pairs regular appearances on the TV series, The Colgate Comedy Hour finally made them household names. Dean was the laid back straight man to Jerry’s hyperactive scene stealer. The pair also went on to make several films together.
I have never been a fan of Jerry Lewis but I do like the work he did with Dean, I feel that they brought out the best in each other on screen. The pair were close friends for many years. The natural warmth and affection between them shows on screen. They broke up in 1956 and sadly became estranged for twenty years. They enjoyed an emotional reunion at an event arranged by Frank Sinatra in 1976.
Following the Martin and Lewis breakup, Dean went on to enjoy success as a singer and actor. He proved in several films that he also had a gift for playing straight drama as well as making people laugh. Check him out in Rio Bravo and The Young Lions in particular. He performed regularly on stage and screen, with Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack – Sammy Davis Jr, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
Following the tragic death of his son in 1987, Dean appeared less and less in public. He passed away on Christmas Day in 1995. He was 78 years old.
My favourite Dean Martin films? Five Card Stud, Airport, Rio Bravo, The Young Lions and The Sons of Katie Elder. My favourite Dean Martin songs? I love so many of them, but the following hold a special place in my heart – Ain’t That A Kick In The Head, Volare, Luna Mezza Mare and Baby, It’s Cold Outside.
Thank you for reading. I’d also like to say a big thank you to Dean for giving me so many hours of laughter and recording all those fabulous songs.