Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Dean Martin

A few years ago I co-authored a book on THE RAT PACK which did very well. Originally we were to do another book for the same publisher on Rita Hayworth, but since sales for The Rat Pack book were so good, they implored us to switch to a book on Dean Martin. My co-author had had enough of the Rat Pack so I decided to do the book as a solo effort. It was called MARTINI MAN: The Life of Dean Martin and also sold quite well. It was not the first book on Martin and it certainly hasn't been the last.

After Martini Man came out, there was a sudden flood of books about Dino. First his producer did a tome on the Dean Martin show, then little Ricci, the youngest of his children, came out with a slender volume that added little to the lore of Dean Martin. Ricci objected to his father being called "Martini Man" and claims he didn't drink martinis, and he probably didn't -- most of the time. But he did drink martinis when he was in the mood for one. But the main reason for using Martini Man for a title was because a martini goes with Martin's show biz uniform, which was always a tuxedo. You think of tuxedos and you think of martinis, the classy drink, it's as simple as that. [The cover of the book shows Martin drinking -- what else -- a martini!]

After Ricci's book, his half-sister Deana did her own tome about Dino, which was a bit thicker, frankly padded with stuff that she or her co-author probably got from other biographies, including mine. [No problem. There's nothing wrong with using a previous tome for research.] Then a few months later, Jerry Lewis himself came out with his own book on Dino. None of these books could in any way be considered biographies of Dino, but they had their own points of view and points of interest.

The families, friends, co-workers of celebrities always scream about what has been written about them, but I'm pleased to report that nothing written by any of these people in any way conflicts with what I wrote about Dean Martin -- in fact all these books written by "insiders" only confirm my take on ol' Dino.

Martini Man -- the full honest story of Dean Martini's life and career -- still sells briskly, so I'm not afraid of a little competition

But enough already with the Dean Martin books! [Be prepared. He has several other children and two still-living ex-wives yet to be heard from.]

Let me say that I am sympathetic to the offspring of famous people who see strangers [to them] writing and talking about their parents and want a piece of the action, to feel more a part of the excitement, to be recognized for their own achievements [while, ironically, battening off their fathers or mothers]. Children of the famous often have privileges, advantages and "ins" that most of us don't have, but they also have to deal with very large shadows. No matter what sort of person he might have been, I always felt sorry for the late Eric Douglas, who was not only in the shadow of his father, Kirk Douglas, but of his older brother, Michael Douglas. I wouldn't wish that fate on anyone and I think it actually killed him.