Dino

Dino

4.5 2
by Nick Tosches
     
 

Far more than Elvis or Sinatra, both of whom idolized him, Dean Martin stands as the great mystery of superstardom. Flesh and fantasy, he is both a man of whom the world knows little and an image that has come to embody the holy trinity of America: flash, trash, and cash. The facts of his life are the stuff of myth. Born seventy-five years ago in Steubenville, Ohio,…  See more details below

Overview

Far more than Elvis or Sinatra, both of whom idolized him, Dean Martin stands as the great mystery of superstardom. Flesh and fantasy, he is both a man of whom the world knows little and an image that has come to embody the holy trinity of America: flash, trash, and cash. The facts of his life are the stuff of myth. Born seventy-five years ago in Steubenville, Ohio, Dino Crocetti, an immigrant's son, came up the hard way. He pumped gas, worked in a steel mill, boxed, and dealt craps at a local mob joint before finally turning to singing. After two name changes and a nose job, he began an unparalleled rise to the heights of fame, wealth, and power, becoming the most popular all-around entertainer of his time. While his notoriety and fortune grew astoundingly, he withdrew more and more into the silence of seclusion, a darkness on the other side of fame. Yet even in his self-imposed exile, the legend, and enigma, of Dean Martin took on a force of their own. In Dino, Nick Tosches takes us on a mesmerizing, irreverent odyssey through American mob culture, through the hidden, the forbidden, and the dreamed-of places, telling the story of a rise against all odds; the glory of that rise and its dark side, too: the story of a man driven into his own shadow by fame and inner demons. Tosches spent years interviewing the characters and exploring the hell and paradise of an America that few besides Martin have known. From the gambling dens of corrupt steel towns to the glorious nightclub whirl and neon netherworlds of New York and Chicago, from the casinos of Las Vegas to the dream factories of Hollywood, Dino brings to life the sublime and sleazy vision at the heart of this century's soul. Here are vivid portraits of Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Jerry Lewis, Marilyn Monroe, and a host of infamous others, from Frank Costello to Mickey Cohen to Sam Giancana. Wild, illuminating, and strangely poetic, Dino is the epic tale of both one man's fate and that of the new world his fore

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An immigrant barber's son, high-school dropout Dino Crocetti--aka Dean Martin--left a job in an Ohio steel mill to achieve what no one before him had pulled off: simultaneous fame as a star of stage, movies, TV and records. But if this brilliant, freewheeling, acid biography is correct, it was all a racket to Martin, depicted here as an emotional loner driven to possess the world, a rogue who changed wives like suits and duped fans with the image of a faithful family man while he endlessly took lovers, drank, gambled and popped pills. Tosches, biographer of Jerry Lee Lewis ( Hellfire ), seemingly leaves no stone unturned as he examines Martin's behind-the-scenes bickering with partner Jerry Lewis, his underworld connections, his cavorting with Sinatra and JFK's Rat Pack, his many affairs and his increasing emotional withdrawal. Although this is a deeply unflattering portrait of Martin, now 74, it will nevertheless be a feast for fans because of its detailed coverage of the star's multiple careers. Photos. Author tour. (July)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Tosches, best known for his biography of Jerry Lee Lewis ( Hellfire , LJ 1/15/82), worked in a similar vein to produce this biography of Dean Martin. Tosches's extensive research is obvious, and his book has been aided immeasurably by extensive interviews with Martin's longtime wife, Jeanne, and with his former partner, Jerry Lewis. Martin himself was not interviewed. It's all here: Martin's career in nightclubs, movies, and television as well as his friendships with various mafiosi. The book stays afloat despite the weightiness of too many Italian and Yiddish words, too many gratuitous expletives, and just plain too many words bearing too much metaphorical weight for the subject.-- John Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, N.J.
Kirkus Reviews
Flamboyantly overwritten, saddest celebrity bio of the past decade. Dino Crocetti—Steubenville, Ohio, son of Italian immigrants, and an easygoing, untrained singer with lip-lazy diction—became Dean Martin early in his work with local bands, made it big in Manhattan as a solo act, and went over the top when teamed with a monkey named Jerry Lewis. The keynote of Martin's delivery, explains Tosches (Cut Numbers, 1988, etc.), was a relaxedness directed toward males but that had the ladies following him to bed like groupie mayflies—while he attracted Mafia heavy-hitters as well. Martin's pal Frank Sinatra held him in awe and envied his ease with the Mafia cafe-owners, but Dino couldn't care less about power, or much of anything. He kept Sinatra, as well as his own wives and children—everyone in fact—at arm's length emotionally, and, Tosches indicates, never in his life let one person into his most secret heart. He seemed largely devoted to golf. Gradually, Martin, at first a moderate drinker, developed a drunk act that became too real and at last took him over. After many years as the top draw on TV, he wound up hosting his celebrity roasts, a kind of gathering of the dead assembled from thousands of small splices of film. Martin is still alive, but a shadow in a breeze, withdrawn into watching westerns on TV. Tosches tells his story in a Niagara of grossness that at once strives for literary excellence while often falling into garble: "The very songs that Sinatra and Dean sang...inspired lavish squandering among the countless men who would be them. It was the Jew-roll around the prick that rendered them ithyphallic godkins, simulacra of the great ones, in theirown eyes and in the eyes of the tease-haired lobster-slurping bimbo sapiens they sought to impress." One-hundred-proof prose at its most scorching, and it will melt cash registers. (Thirty b&w photographs—not seen.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385262163
Publisher:
The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/01/1992
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
576

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