The Crooning Comedian
by Elliot Thorpe
In August 1969, Billboard declared Dean Martin “The Total Entertainer.”
While that’s not entirely true (he never performed live theatre nor starred in Broadway musicals), Dino owned his own restaurant, his own production companies, had shares in a Las Vegas casino, did hundreds of sell-out Vegas shows, regularly topped the music charts, starred in hit movies, and headlined his own ratings-busting NBC show. In 1968, he purportedly earned more money for that year than anyone in the history of show business.
Of those who knew and worked with him, we would all say the same thing, he was a perfect gentleman, respectful of his peers, and exceptionally hardworking. He just made it look easy! While music was the career that made Dino very rich and was a path he’d always longed to go down back when he was a busboy and a croupier in Steubenville, his natural flair for comedy was what brought him to the attention of millions.
He, of course, began his comedy career with Jerry Lewis. When I co-wrote the biography Dean Martin Recollections, I referenced a line spoken by Jason Statham’s character from the movie Transporter 3, where he insisted that Dino was the funny one, not Jerry, and he could make people laugh by just holding a whisky tumbler and a cigarette…
Read the rest of The Crooning Comedian from Elliot Thorpe in SEARCH Magazine‘s Winter 2022 #KeepLaughing issue.