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Dean Martin passes
WAP95122501-25DEC1995-WASHINGTON, DC, USA: Actor Dean Martin (left) (1917-1995) passed away today, 25 December. Martin seen here in a 1980 photo with fellow singer Sammy Davis, Jr. (right) performed for audiences and in movies for over five decades. UPI file photo
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Dean Martin (June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995), born Dino Paul Crocetti, was an American singer, film actor, television star and comedian. Martin's hit singles included "Memories Are Made of This", "That's Amore", "Everybody Loves Somebody", "Mambo Italiano", "Sway", "Volare" and smash hit "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.

Martin was born in Steubenville, Ohio, to Italian parents, Gaetano and Angela Crocetti (née Barra). His father was from Abruzzo, Italy, and his mother was an Italian of part Neapolitan and part Sicilian ancestry. Martin was the younger of two sons. His brother was named Bill. Martin spoke only Italian until he started school. He attended Grant Elementary School in Steubenville, and took up the drums as a hobby as a teenager. He was the target of much ridicule for his broken English and ultimately dropped out of Steubenville High School in the 10th grade because he thought that he was smarter than his teachers. He delivered bootleg liquor, served as a speakeasy croupier, was a blackjack dealer, worked in a steel mill and boxed as welterweight. He grew up a neighbor to Jimmy the Greek.

At the age of 15, he was a boxer who billed himself as "Kid Crochet". His prizefighting years earned him a broken nose (later straightened), a scarred lip, and many sets of broken knuckles (a result of not being able to afford the tape used to wrap boxers' hands). Of his twelve bouts, he would later say "I won all but eleven." For a time, he roomed with Sonny King, who, like Martin, was just starting in show business and had little money. It is said that Martin and King held bare-knuckle matches in their apartment, fighting until one of them was knocked out; people paid to watch.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dean Martin."
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