Monday, March 08, 2010

Daughter of legendary crooner Dean Martin on life with Rat Pack star

Hey pallies, seems that our Dino's girlpallie Gail (quickly becomin' my fav of the Dino-children) has her hands in the new Dino-anthology "That's Amore" and is helpin' to promote it by givin' Dino-reflections. From the Brit newspaper pad, "The Daily Record" comes this exclusive interview with Miss Gail by staffer Mr. Billy Sloan of the Sunday Mail.

Much of the Dino-info her are thinks that pallies likes us are familiar callin' the cops to stop a party at his own pad, but there are other Dino-bits new to this pallie, so perhaps new to you as well...just hava to read for yourselves...

And, likes be sure to read to the end, to hear the coolest of cool stories 'bout Gail's grandboypallie tagged Dino (now how cool is that!) and how our great man was connected to young Dino's new skateboard!

Thanks to Mr. Billy Sloan for sharin' this interview with Miss Gail. To read this in it's original format, just click on the tagg of this Dino-gram to goes there.

As a added Dino-bonus, found this cool clip of our Dino and his girlpallie Gail makin' music together from the Dean Martin Show Oct. 23rd 1966. Enjoys pallies...always such a total Dino-pleasure to be passin' on more Dino-tales to all my beloved ilovedinomartin Dino-holics. Dino-amazed, DMP

Daughter of legendary crooner Dean Martin on life with Rat Pack star

Mar 7 2010 Exclusive by Billy Sloan, Sunday Mail

THE Beverly Hills party was in full swing - John Wayne propped up the bar, while Steve McQueen charmed the ladies and Frank Sinatra entertained with a song or two.

None of the guests noticed host Dean Martin slip upstairs to make a crucial telephone call.

The showbiz legend - who reigned supreme in Las Vegas in the '60s as a member of the notorious Rat Pack with Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop - wanted an early night.

Dean's daughter, Gail Downey, 64, revealed: "Dad wasn't a big party animal so he'd sneak upstairs at 10 o'clock, phone the local cops and say, 'Those Martins are having another wild party. Can you come round and break it up?'

"He wanted a good night's sleep so he could get up next morning to go play golf. He didn't like mixing in big company or crowds.

"He gave it all on stage so at home he didn't want to sit and chit-chat. Dad preferred to be alone."

Gail - who became a successful singer in her own right - has been reliving her father's incredible career to mark the 15th anniversary of his death in 1995.

She's helped compile That's Amore - a 40-track collection of Martin's greatest hits, including Volare, Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime and Ain't That A Kick In The Head - which is being released for Mother's Day.

"It was emotional listening to the album because it's dad. But I hear him singing all the time. My local radio station play one of his songs every hour," said Gail

"I walk into an Italian restaurant and his music is played. He's never left us so it's lucky we all liked him.He was such a natural singer. It was seemingly effortless.

"Somebody once asked him what he'd like to be remembered for and he told them: 'Just as a great entertainer and performer.'"

Gail - one of the crooner's eight children from three marriages - insists that the classic Martin boozy image was just an act. And she says the infamous Rat Pack gigs with Sinatra - or Uncle Frank to Gail - and Sammy Davis Jr were not all they seemed.

She said: "Uncle Frank would introduce Dad on stage by saying, 'Here he is straight from the bar.' But it wasn't whisky he had in his glass but apple juice.

"Dad wanted to stay healthy and have his wits about him. If he got drunk, it interfered with his golf next morning.

"They did have some wild nights together. Shirley Maclaine, Ursula Andress and Angie Dickinson would come to hang out.

"They'd drive on to the casino floor in a golf cart and Dad would sit and deal cards. He'd give gamblers the cards they needed so they could win. But he didn't like to stay up late. He was a very committed family man so he wanted to get home to us."

Martin struck a blow for race relations in Vegas when he and Sinatra refused to patronise any casino which didn't admit Davis Jr, a black Jew. Their efforts helped wipe out racism in venues which used entertainment to attract high-rollers.

Gail said: "They said, 'If Sammy doesn't play, we don't play.' As performers, it didn't matter to them whether you were white, black, red or yellow. Their attitude was if you're talented we don't care where you come from."

Gail also explodes the myth that Sinatra - nicknamed "chairman of the board" - snapped his fingers and Martin jumped.

"Dad was very much his own man. I think that's why Uncle Frank respected him so much. He had yes-men around him. They were both very on an equal par."

Martin's career included movies such as Rio Bravo, The Sons Of Katie Elder, Robin And The 7 Hoods and Ocean's 11. And his NBC TV comedy series The Dean Martin Show topped the ratings for years.

He has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in music, movies and television and has streets named in his honour in Las Vegas and Rancho Mirage.

But the singer never got over the 1987 plane deeath of his son, Dean Paul, a jet fighter pilot with the Air National Guard.

The following year, he bowed out of a nationwide tour with Sinatra and Davis Jr.

Gail said: "Uncle Frank loved going on the road but dad hated it. He'd played different clubs as a much younger man but when he reached his seventies he really wanted to cool it.

"He'd smoked cigarettes all his life but suddenly quit. I asked him why and he said, 'I woke up one day and forgot I smoked.' He just grew tired, he'd done everything he wanted to do."

Martin made his final public appearance at Sinatra's 75th birthday party in 1990 and three years later was diagnosed with lung cancer. Doctors advised that surgery could prolong his life but he refused to allow them to operate.

He died on Christmas morning 1995 and the lights were dimmed on the Vegas strip in his memory.

Gail told me: "I got the call on Christmas morning he had died. I felt sad because he was the sweetest guy... so wonderful and generous.

"After his funeral, my daughters and I drove to where he was buried, put on tapes of his music and drank a toast. I haven't met anyone who didn't like him. Not a single person. Can you imagine that?"

In 2009, Martin won a Grammy award for lifetime achievement, which Gail accepted on his behalf.

Later, she was given another reminder of his lasting popularity when her grandson Dino got a new skateboard.

"He called and said, 'You'll never guess whose picture is on it... it's Grandpa Dean with two of his friends'.

"How cool is it to have recorded your first record in 1948 and to still be so popular 60 years later your picture is on a skateboard. There's your lifetime achievement."

Pack were Bogart's best buds

The Rat Pack originally sprung up around Humphrey Bogart, whose wife Lauren Bacall named them.

Seeing Bogie, Sinatra and their cronies come straggling in after a night on the town she exclaimed "You look like a goddamned rat pack!" The name stuck.

After Bogie's death, Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr were joined by actor Peter Lawford and US comedian Joey Bishop rounded out the Pack.

The Rat Pack made their home at the Copa Room in the Sands Hotel and Casino on the famed Las Vegas Strip.

In the late 1980s, Frank, Dean, and Sammy tried to rekindle the magic with a much-hyped tour, but Dean was forced to drop out due to illness after only a few dates.

Sammy died in 1990 and Frank and Dean had little contact before the latter's death in 1995. Sinatra died in 1998.


Maria Jensen said...

I was just about to post this as well, but it seems that you got here first :)
I do really like Gail, she is talented, beautiful and loves her dad very much.And she supports the promoting of Dino very much indeed!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, wells likes I do trys my best to get all the Dino-news out as soon as Dino-possible....

Sannie said...

I think Gail is a great Dino-daughter. She has no hidden agenda (unlike another unmentionable one). She speaks respectfully and lovingly of her dad, and has nice memories to share. Just like us "regular" families there is always someone who tries to steal the spotlight (you know who) and another who just quietly does the right thing. Thanks Gail.

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes thanks so much Miss Sannie for sharin' those heart-felt refreshin' to know that at least Gail has wonderful thin's to say 'bout her Dino-daddy-o...