During his heyday, Dean Martin was the coolest guy in the world. He was a movie star, had a hit TV show, was the king of the nightclubs, and he was one half of the most popular comedy team in the history of show business. Dean's records sold in the millions, but his greatest joy in life was his beloved golf. Dean was a very complicated man, although he appeared to be very simple. Let's take a look at Frank "Old Blue Eyes" Sinatra's best pal, Dean Martin- "Old Red Eyes.”
1) He didn't speak English until he was five.
Dean Martin grew up in a very Italian family and never spoke a word of English until he was five years old.
2) He was a Boy Scout.
Yes, Dean Martin- the bad boy, the drinker, the ladies' man, was, indeed, a Boy Scout. He was the drummer for the local Boy Scout band in Steubenville, Ohio.
3) He was once an amateur boxer.
Fighting under the name “Kid Crotchet,” Dean was reputedly a very good welterweight boxer. His record, according to one source, was 24 wins and 6 losses in 30 bouts.
Dean was so broke in his early years, he and a friend would stage fights in their hotel room and charge people to watch. Supposedly, they would often fight until one of the combatants knocked the other one out.
4) He changed his name twice.
Dean was born Dino Paul Crocetti. Upon entering show business, he changed his name to Dino Martini. Because there was a popular current singer named Nino Martini, Dean changed his name again, this time to Dean Martin.
5) He hated the Martin and Lewis movies.
Although Dean appeared in 16 very funny movies with his comedy partner, Jerry Lewis, Dean said he always "hated" the Martin and Lewis films.
“They were Jerry Lewis movies,” he said, “I played an idiot in every one.”
6) He loved his comic books.
Dean was never a heavy reader, but he loved his comic books. Too embarrassed to buy them for himself, he would have Jerry buy them for him. Jerry would slip them to Dean in private, then Dean would go to his dressing room or to some private spot and enjoy them.
7) He only read one book in his entire life.
Dean admitted that the only book he ever read in his life was Black Beauty.
8) He hated parties.
Although he had the image of a swinger, Dean always hated parties.
“I was shy,” he said candidly. Another time, Dean said, “I was ashamed of the way I spoke.”
9) He called the police on his wife's party.
Once, Dean's wife, Jeannie, was throwing a party at the couple's Beverly Hills mansion. As usual, Dean went to his room alone to watch some TV.
As the party grew louder, Dean called the local police and said he was a neighbor and claimed there was a loud party going on at Dean Martin's house and could the cops come and get them to quiet down. The police showed up and the party broke up because of Dean's anonymous call.
10) He got $34 million for not rehearsing.
In 1968, Dean signed the biggest contract in the history of show business. He signed a three-year contract for $34 million to do three more seasons of his hit series The Dean Martin Show.
But this was a very unique contract: since Dean hated rehearsing, he would not have to show up all week to rehearse the show. A stand-in took over Dean's role at rehearsals, while Dean played golf Monday through Thursday. He'd look over his lines during the week, but mostly he'd golf. Then on Friday, he would show up and tape the show.
11) He always said his prayers.
Surprisingly, perhaps because of his "bad boy" reputation, Dean was a devout Catholic. He said his prayers every night before he went to bed.
12) He had a severe case of claustrophobia.
Dean was absolutely terrified of close spaces. He almost always refused to ride in elevators (“It's a like a coffin in there,” he said). Reputedly, Dean once walked 18 flights of stairs to avoid riding the elevator.