Best known as: Crooner, actor, and comedy partner to Jerry Lewis
Name at birth: Dino Crocetti
Between 1949 and 1956, Dean Martin made 16 films as the singing straight man to his comedy partner Jerry Lewis; the two were one of the hottest entertainment acts of the era. After their bitter (and much-publicized) breakup, Martin continued making movies, including both comedy and dramatic roles and the spoofy Matt Helm spy movies of the 1960s. A nightclub singer and solid member of Frank Sinatra‘s “rat pack,” Martin also had hit records, most notably “That’s Amore” and “Everybody Loves Somebody.” Martin’s easygoing attitude helped make him a hit on television, where he hosted a comedy and variety show from 1965-74.
Extra credit: Martin’s son Dean Paul (also known as Dino) was an actor, singer and sometime tennis pro; he died in a California Air National Guard plane crash in 1987. Editor’s note: Many close friends say that the loss of his son was effectively the end of Martin’s life, even though he would live several more years, dining alone many nights at the same la Famiglia restaurant in Beverly Hills.