Dean Martin: King of the Road

Overview

Singer, actor, and member of the infamous Rat Pack, Dean Martin was a star who had it all—money, women, and fame. Now Michael Freedland looks at his life, his career, and his enduring appeal. Beginning with his Ohio childhood as a son of Italian immigrants, Freedland dispels the myths surrounding Martin, a consummate professional who worked hard to cultivate a reputation for laziness. The author, who had exclusive access to Martin's family and friends, includes interviews with the star’s wife Jeanne, his daughter...

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Overview

Singer, actor, and member of the infamous Rat Pack, Dean Martin was a star who had it all—money, women, and fame. Now Michael Freedland looks at his life, his career, and his enduring appeal. Beginning with his Ohio childhood as a son of Italian immigrants, Freedland dispels the myths surrounding Martin, a consummate professional who worked hard to cultivate a reputation for laziness. The author, who had exclusive access to Martin's family and friends, includes interviews with the star’s wife Jeanne, his daughter Gail, and his comedy partner Jerry Lewis. Dean Martin: King of the Road offers a close-up look at an American icon, including his lifelong relationship with Frank Sinatra, the tragic death of his son, his relationships with the Kennedys and various Mafiosi, and his three marriages.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Legendary Rat Pack member Martin cultivated an image of a happy drunk, but once said, "If I drank as much as they said I did, I would have been dead thirty years ago." Freedland, biographer of Doris Day, Liza Minnelli, Gregory Peck and others, queried acquaintances (including Martin's second wife, Jeanne) on the true contents of Martin's ubiquitous whiskey bottle-and reveals that it usually contained apple juice. The deception was deliberate: Martin (1917-1995), Freedland shows, wanted to cover up the insecurity of his lower-class Steubenville, Ohio, childhood. "I was afraid to open my mouth because I knew I wasn't speaking correctly," he admitted. But the smalltown boy made the most of his talents, and Freedland carefully charts Martin's career from croupier to his famed partnership with Jerry Lewis. After their acrimonious breakup, Martin became a successful headliner on the nightclub circuit and starred in several films, including 1959's Rio Bravo and the original Ocean's Eleven (1960). Later, his TV variety show led to the popular Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. Though Freedland has written a stimulating tale, he whitewashes Martin's image. Fans will enjoy the ride, as long as they remember it includes wearing rose-colored glasses. Photos. (Jan. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A biography of singer-actor Martin that has the pace, diffidence and depth of one of Martin's T.V. variety shows. In this relentlessly upbeat rehash of Martin's life, Freedland breezes through familiar territory, and, while not shying away from negative terrain, seldom digs for answers or conclusions to questions surrounding Martin's life and career. The famous Martin and Jerry Lewis partnership, for example, receives due attention as Freedland charts their rise and fall, presenting both sides of their eventual break-up. But were the "pardners" equally to blame for the breach? And what emotional bonds apparently held fast between them after they pursued separate careers? Likewise, tracing Martin's major success as an actor and singer, Freedland hits all the marks, yet offers little insight. Did Martin work harder than his laid-back performance demeanor suggested? Was he a natural as an actor, or did he woodshed his parts behind the scenes, as the strength of some of his performances suggests? Freedland also offers a very detailed look at the workings of Martin's greatest success, his TV variety show. The account certainly benefits histories of American television, but skirts key matters that define Martin's winning image. What can be learned from his popularity? Why did audiences welcome Martin into their homes for 18 years? Was it because the fabulously wealthy charter member of the obnoxious Rat Pack really seemed like a happy neighbor ready to kick back, pour a drink and get high in the den? Perhaps readers who loved Dino will care less as they once more flip through his story. Dino light and lively; anyone seeking a probing look at the life of Dean Martin should lookelsewhere-probably at Nick Tosches's Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams (1992).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861058829
  • Publisher: Anova Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Pages: 226
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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