Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams

Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams

by Nick Tosches
     
 

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From dealing blackjack in the small-time gangster  town of Steubenville, Ohio, to carousing with the  famous "Rat Pack" in a Hollywood he  called home, Dean Martin lived in a grandstand,  guttering life of booze, broads, and big money. He  rubbed shoulders with the mob, the Kennedys, and  Hollywood's

Overview

From dealing blackjack in the small-time gangster  town of Steubenville, Ohio, to carousing with the  famous "Rat Pack" in a Hollywood he  called home, Dean Martin lived in a grandstand,  guttering life of booze, broads, and big money. He  rubbed shoulders with the mob, the Kennedys, and  Hollywood's biggest stars. He was one of America's  favorite entertainers. But no one really knew him.  Now Nick Tosches reveals the man behind the  image—the dark side of the American dream. It's a  wild, illuminating, sometimes shocking tale of sex,  ambition, heartaches—and a life lived hard, fast,  and without  apologies.

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
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.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385334297
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/28/1999
Pages:
654
Sales rank:
502,114
Product dimensions:
8.04(w) x 5.28(h) x 1.40(d)

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