Dean Martin (June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) was an American singer, film actor and comedian. Martin’s hit singles included “Memories Are Made of This”, “That’s Amore”, “Everybody Loves Somebody”, “Mambo Italiano”, “Sway”, “Volare” and “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?”. Nicknamed the “King of Cool”, he was one of the members of the “Rat Pack” and a major star in four areas of show business: concert stage/night clubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television.
On March 21, 1987, Martin’s son Dean Paul (formerly Dino of the ’60s “teeny-bopper” rock group Dino, Desi & Billy) was killed when his F-4 Phantom II jet fighter crashed while flying with the California Air National Guard. A much-touted tour with Davis and Sinatra in 1988 sputtered. On one occasion, he infuriated Sinatra when he turned to him and muttered “Frank, what the hell are we doing up here?” Martin, who always responded best to a club audience, felt lost in the huge stadiums they were performing in (at Sinatra’s insistence), and he was not the least bit interested in drinking until dawn after their performances. His final Vegas shows were at the Bally’s Hotel in 1990. It was there he had his final reunion with Jerry Lewis on his 72nd birthday. Martin’s last two TV appearances both involved tributes to his former Rat Pack members. In 1990, he joined many stars of the entertainment industry in Sammy Davis, Jr’s 60th anniversary celebration, which aired only a few weeks before Davis died from throat cancer. In December 1990, he congratulated Frank Sinatra on his 75th birthday special. By 1991, Martin had unofficially retired from performing.
Martin, a life-long smoker, died of acute respiratory failure resulting from emphysema at his Beverly Hills home on Christmas morning 1995, at the age of 78. The lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honour.