"Dean Martin" (June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) was an American singer and film actor. Martin found phenomenal success in almost every entertainment venue. Although suffering a few down times during his career, Martin always managed to come out on top.
Martin was born "Dino Paul Crocetti" in the West Virginia-Ohio border-town of Steubenville, Ohio. His parents were Italian-born barber Gaetano Crocetti and his wife, Angela. He spoke only Italian until age five.
Martin dropped out of school in the tenth grade and took a string of odd jobs ranging from steelworker to bootlegger; at the age of 15, he was a boxer who billed himself as "Kid Crocett." (Kro-Shey) It was from his prizefighting years that he got a broken nose (it was later fixed), a permanently split lip, and his beat-up hands. Dean was known to have won almost all of his matches. For a time, he worked as a roulette stickman and croupier. At the same time, he practiced his singing with local bands. Billing himself as "Dino Martini" (after the then-famous Metropolitan Opera tenor, Nino Martini), he got his first break working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra. But in the early 1940s, he started singing f...