Today is the birthday of my favorite male singer of all time: Dean Martin.
And it’s not just Dino’s birthday today. June 7th is also National Dean Martin Day:
“In honor of the Steubenville, Ohio, native Dino Paul Crocetti, born on that day in 1917, for his achievements as a national and international singer, actor and radio and television personality.”
According to Dean’s daughter, Deana [aff. link],
“Dad has the distinction of being the only entertainer honored with his own national day in the entire United States.”
Dean Martin: The Approachable King of Cool
Is it really any surprise that such a likeable, talented, approachable, and cool star like Dean Martin would be the one to get his own national holiday?
Just watching a Dean Martin movie, or hearing that easy going smile in his seemingly effortless singing can make anyone feel like Dino is a good friend. He just has that way about him.
To celebrate Dino’s birthday today, I want to share some of my favorite facts about “The King of Cool.” I’m confident they’ll surprise you.
So here are a few things about Dean Martin you didn’t know:
A Man of Simple Snacks
In 1967, Dean Martin reportedly earned more than anyone in the entertainment industry.
That’s pretty impressive.
But despite his great wealth, Dino was a man of simple tastes. Especially when it came to snack time.
According to Deana Martin, her father’s very favorite snack was about as simple, cheap, and down-to-earth as snacks can get:
“He’d take a piece of Wonder Bread, smear it with butter, fold it over, and carry it into the living room, where he’d turn on the TV, eat his little sandwich, and sometimes fall asleep on the couch.”
Even if you don’t particularly love Wonder Bread or butter, how incredibly cute and relatable is that??
He Was Home for Dinner Every Night
Despite his famous friendships with such night owls as Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack, Dean Martin was not a partier. He preferred to come home every night after his shows or filming/recording at the studio. Daughter Deana shared that
“Dad was home a lot, and we had dinner together as a family almost every night. To us it was the norm, having our father sitting at the head of the table each night, asking us about our day and cracking jokes. He enjoyed this time with the family, sharing a meal…I guess it was the Italian in him.”
Dean’s nightly routine started with cocktails with his wife, the beautiful Jeanne (pronounced “Jeannie”). Then, he’d grab the kids–ALL 7 OF THEM–and
“we’d play roughhouse and climb all over him, which he never seemed to mind. Whenever the play-fights got a bit out of had, he’d yell jokingly, ‘Not the nose!’ or ‘Not the throat! Remember, the throat pays for everything!’”
Isn’t that just the sweetest image?
I love that Deana gives us a glimpse of this side of her father.
You Knew Dean Martin Had Your Back
Famous friends like Frank Sinatra knew Dino had their backs.
As Ocean’s Eleven (1960) photographer Sid Avery said of Frank and Dino,
“They’d have killed for each other…I’m not altogether sure they didn’t.”
But you didn’t have to be a famous friend to know you could rely on Dino, as Martin family relative Violet Crocetti fount out. Deana relates this fabulous story about her father saving Aunt Violet from overwhelming embarrassment one night:
“Violet arrived at a party at the Fort Steuben Hotel to celebrate Dad’s return to his hometown…and made a grand entrance in high-heeled shoes and a strapless black taffeta gown.
As she walked in, all heads turned and, momentarily distracted, she stumbled and fell head over heels in the middle of the foyer. Everyone gasped with embarrassment as she plunged to the floor and landed in an ungainly heap. No one tried to help her up. Suddenly, Dad stepped forward, applauding enthusiastically, and picked her up.
‘Well done, Vi,’ he said with a smile. ‘That was exactly as we rehearsed it!’
He made everybody believe the whole thing was staged and that she’d done a brilliant pratfall. She was so grateful, she never forgot his kindness.”
Ok, what a nice guy.
Why couldn’t Dean Martin have been there for me with this awesome save when I fell face-first down the bleachers at Homecoming?
(Wait, what??? Of course that never happened…)
He was Always Grateful
Dean once said,
“I wouldn’t change places with anyone in the world. It’s unbelievable that all this could happen to me…Nobody ever figured me for this. Nobody.”
Dino was always amazed at his good luck to be blessed with a voice and charisma that led to such a successful, lengthy career. According to Deana,
“Every day he woke up and counted his blessings; every night before he went to bed he said his prayers and thanked God for his good fortune. He wouldn’t walk in the front door without kissing the gold Saint Christopher medal Claudia [one of his daughters] had bought him and which he wore around his neck.”
Few things are more admirable than a person who shows gratitude for their good fortune. Dean Martin certainly never took for granted the talents he was blessed with, or the amazing life and career these talents and hard work brought him.
Happy Birthday, Dino!
And that wraps up my birthday tribute to Dean Martin.
Happy Birthday Dino, you’re one of a kind!