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File:Dino 2549.jpg

You wish you were that cool.

Dean Martin (1917-1995; born Dino Paul Crocetti) was a singer, actor, comedian, vice-president of the Rat Pack, and the epitome of cool. He didn't have to invoke the rule; he was just cool.

He was a non-descript singer with a pretty good East Coast reputation until 1946, when he met and teamed up with Jerry Lewis. They would become the hottest comedy team in America over the next ten years. It was universally accepted that Lewis was the better talent and that he carried Martin, but Lewis consistently praised Martin's work and said the team was "50-50".

The team broke up mostly because Martin wanted to do some serious acting. No one thought much of his chances, but he quickly knocked out three impressive performances: The Young Lions (1957), Some Came Running (1958), and Rio Bravo (1959). He then followed those up with the memorable Ocean's Eleven in 1960.

All the while he was acting, he was also recording. Once he settled on his trademark "crooning" style, he became one of the most beloved singers in America. "Ain't That a Kick in the Head", which Dino first performed in the original Ocean's Eleven, is today the emblematic song of the Rat Pack period. (Want proof? It was used in a Budweiser Super Bowl commercial.) He's also well known for "That's Amore" and "Everybody Loves Somebody".

During the Rat Pack years and subsequently, Dino was rarely seen without a lowball glass (his Vanity License Plate read "DRUNKY"). Most (but not all) of the time though, he was drinking apple juice. Likewise, while his best friend, Frank Sinatra, caroused and tomcatted, Dino went home every night to his wife, Jeanne. When they divorced in 1973, she said simply, "He was home every night."

Most tropers of a certain age know him as the host of the Dean Martin Show (NBC, 1965-1974) and the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts (also NBC, 1975-1984).

It says above that Dino died in 1995, but he really died on March 21, 1987, when his son Dean Paul (who had done a little singing and acting himself) was killed when his California Air National Guard jet crashed. Dino was never the same. Sinatra tried to coax him back on the road — the "Together Again Tour", 30 shows in 40 days. Dino hung in for one week, then flew home. In 1993, the lifelong smoker was diagnosed with lung cancer, and made few public appearances afterward. Jeanne was at his side till the end.


His career provides examples of:

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