No swing dancing blog would be complete if it didn’t talk about the one and only Dean Martin. I swoon just thinking about the voice that man has.
The shining member of the Rat Pack was a star of stage, screen and television. That’s right, folks, he did it all; he could sing, he could dance…well, we can at least dance to his music. Anyway, I love the man because of his music, they just don’t make a tune like that anymore. A few of his most famous ditties include “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” and the original version of “Sway“, most recently and famously redone by Michael Bublé.
Born Dino Paul Crocetti in Stuebenville, Ohio in June of 1917, the man with the silver tongue first hit it big when he teamed up with Jerry Lewis at a gig in New York City. The friendship between the two quickly morphed into a winning act, an amalgam of music, comedy and camaraderie.
Later in his career, Dean ventured into the realm of TVdom with his The Dean Martin Show. The variety show ran for nine seasons and hit its peak in 1967/68 when it ranked #8 in TV ratings. The show featured musical numbers and celebrity guests. The final season of the show spun off a number of celebrity roasts that ran for another ten years. During it’s run, The Dean Martin Show racked up 12 Emmy nomination, three Golden Globe nominations and one Golden Globe win for Best Actor in a Television Comedy Series.
In is later years, Dean and his good buddy Frank Sinatra were implicated in a gambling scandal in New Jersey. Sinatra paid a $25,000 fine on their behalves. He made a brief return to movies after this, but none were as successful as his previous ones. Dean made his final reunion with Jerry Lewis on Dean’s 72nd birthday.
Dean Martin died on Christmas morning in 1995 after being diagnosed with lung cancer two years earlier. The Vegas Strip dimmed their lights in his honor.
Ohio Route 7 through his hometown of Steubenville was renamed in Dean’s honor and is denoted with Al Hirschfeld caricatures of the singer. Steubenville also holds and annual “Dean Martin festival” during which many impersonators and other crooners perform.