Martin as easygoing as his stage presence

GOOD MORNING: “Everybody needs someone” could have been Dean Martin’s theme during the last sad years of his life. He could be seen nightly as a sole dining figure at Beverly Hills’ La Famiglia, then later at DaVinci and the Sunset Strip’s Hamburger Hamlet. He dined mostly alone, sometimes joined by his longtime agent and close friend, ICM’s Mort Viner. He lived alone and spent his days watching old television shows by day and night. He was a changed man from the Dean Martin I had known for 40 years, from the zany nightclub stage at Ciro’s to the stages at Par where he and Jerry Lewis added to their fame and fortune. … I have watched the ranks of the Rat Pack thin as Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr. and now Dean departed. Those were the kind of fun days of which everyone pictured Martin being a major part. He was, in fact, the easygoing guy he seemed to be whenever I interviewed him. There was no subterfuge in his responses. The great tragedy in his life, the death of son Dean Jr. (“Dino”), left an unhealable scar on Dean. Of late, his illnesses started to take their toll. A kidney problem forced him to leave a tour with Frank Sinatra, and then respiratory problems finally caused him to quit his nightclub appearances. He had always been a heavy smoker, but not the heavy drinker that his act would have had us believe. He was a kind and gentle soul, and everyone will miss his soft tones singing “Volare” and “That’s Amore.”

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