Dean Martin was an American singer, film actor, television star and comedian. Martin's hit singles included 'Memories Are Made of This', 'That's Amore', 'Everybody Loves Somebody', 'Mambo Italiano', 'Sway', 'Volare' and smash hit 'Ain't That a Kick in the Head?'. Nicknamed the 'King of Cool', he was one of the members of the 'Rat Pack' and a major star in four areas of show business: concert stage/night clubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television.
Martin was born in Steubenville, Ohio, to Italian parents, Gaetano and Angela Crocetti (née Barra). Martin spoke only Italian until he started school. He was the target of much ridicule for his broken English and ultimately dropped out of Steubenville High School in the 10th grade because he thought that he was smarter than his teachers.
At the age of 15, he was a boxer who billed himself as 'Kid Crochet'. His prizefighting years earned him a broken nose, a scarred lip, and many sets of broken knuckles (a result of not being able to afford the tape used to wrap boxers' hands).
Eventually, Martin gave up boxing. He began singing with local bands, calling himself 'Dino Martini' (after the then-famous Metropolitan Opera tenor, Nino Martini), he got his first break working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra. He sang in a crooning style influenced by Harry Mills (of the Mills Brothers), among others. In the early 1940s, he started singing for bandleader Sammy Watkins, who suggested he change his name to Dean Martin.
In October 1941, Martin married Elizabeth Anne McDonald. During their marriage (ended by divorce in 1949), they had four children. Martin worked for various bands throughout the early 1940s, mostly on looks and personality until he developed his own singing style. Martin famously flopped at the Riobamba, a high class nightclub in New York, when he succeeded Frank Sinatra in 1943, but it was the setting for their meeting.
As Martin's solo career grew, he and Frank Sinatra became close friends. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Martin and Sinatra, along with friends Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis, Jr. formed the legendary Rat Pack, so called by the public after an earlier group of social friends, the Holmby Hills Rat Pack centered on Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, of which Sinatra had been a member.
Martin, a life-long smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer at Cedars Sinai Medical Center on 16 September 1993. He died of acute respiratory failure resulting from emphysema at his Beverly Hills home on Christmas morning 1995, at the age of 78. The lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor.
Black wool tuxedo with black satin lapels and red silk scarf in outside breast pocket. Label reads, .Carmen Lamola, Beverly Hills.. Two bowties, one black wool and one red moiré silk, accompanied by a lack and white inscribed photograph of Dean Martin wearing the tux. Photograph reads, 'Take good care of my tux. Wear it in good health With Love, Dean Martin'.