Laughs thru tears at Martin’s rites

GOOD MORNING: Dean Martin wanted it His Way — his funeral Thursday evening at Pierce Brothers cemetery in Westwood. There were to be no sermons, no sad stories — only happy remembrances. Jerry Lewis, who admitted he was probably able to ad lib anytime, anyplace, said, “Tonight I didn’t want to take any chances,” so he read an emotional tribute to Dean, saying, “We’re here to celebrate his 78 years.” He spoke of Dean’s “exquisite tranquility despite a great inner turbulence.” He said Dean “had steel balls.” Jerry, who bowed out of Thursday night’s performance of “Damn Yankees” in Denver, closed by saying to Dean, “Rest well and don’t forget to short-sheet my bed when I get there.” Jerry was in tears after his remarks and those of the others … Shirley MacLaine made comments appropriate to Dean’s wish for levity. “First of all, I spoke to Dean about an hour ago. Dean and Jerry were the reason I went into show business.” She closed with saying to Dean, “I’ll talk to you later”… Greg Garrison, Dean’s TV producer of 30 years and partner, asked of Bob Newhart seated at the rear, “Bob, who is the greatest straight man ever?” to which Bob answered, “Dean.” Garrison reminisced about some of the moments on “The Dean Martin Show” saying, “He was the sweetest man I ever knew”… Gloria Franks read a letter from Jeanne Martin: “All of my experience with Dean made me grow stronger and wiser.”

AS FRIENDS AND FAMILY GATHERED for a final toast, they also were treated to Dean’s favorite songs, sung by him, on a special CD. The songs included: “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” “Memories Are Made of This,” “That’s Amore, ” “Little Old Winemaker, Me,” “Houston,” “The Glory of Love,” “Red Roses For a Blue Lady,” “Make the World Go Away” and “Volare”… As the services began in L.A., Las Vegas hotels on the Strip dimmed their lights at 7 p.m. in memory of and in tribute to the man who had brightened many of their marquees over three decades

FAMILY MEMBERS AT THE FUNERAL included his children Craig, Gail, Claudia, Deana, Ricci, Gina and Sasha, as well as many of his 11 grandchildren. Martin’s ex-wives Jeanne and Cathy were present. Friends in the chapel included Barbara Sinatra, (Frank was too overwrought to attend), Nancy Sinatra Jr., the Lew Wassermans, Tony Martin and Cyd Charisse, the Don Rickleses, the Bob Newharts, the Robert Stacks, the Tony Danzas, Angie Dickinson, Edie Adams, the Freddie Fieldses, Dorothy Hamill, Dean’s longtime agent and closest friend Mort Viner, Henry Silva and Selma and me … There was no casket in the chapel — instead, a beautiful picture of Dean at the microphone, a flag of Italy and flowers alongside. The Rev. Bob Bock delivered a prayer and Rosemary Clooney closed the services singing “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, mine included.