Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti; June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) was an American singer, film actor and comedian of Italian descent. He was one of the best known musical artists of the 1950s and 1960s. Martin's hit singles included "Memories Are Made Of This", "That's Amore", "Everybody Loves Somebody", "Mambo Italiano", "Sway", "Volare" and "Ain't That A Kick In The Head?" One of the organizers of "The Rat Pack", he was a major star in four areas of show business: concert stage, recordings, motion pictures, and television. Dean Martin has since became a pop culture figure for his womanizing ways, his trademark charm, and his drinking and alleged alcoholism. He was much respected wherever he went, and became a sort of unofficial ambassador to the Italian-American community.
Born in Steubenville, Ohio, Martin dropped out of school in the 10th grade because he thought that he was smarter than his teachers. He delivered bootleg liquor, served as a speakeasy croupier, wrote crafty anecdotes, was a blackjack dealer, worked in a steel mill and boxed as welterweight. At the age of 15, he was a boxer who billed himself as "Kid Crochet" (Kro-Shey). His prizefighting years earned him a broken nose (later fixed), a permanently split lip, and many sets of broken knuckles (a result of not being able to afford the tape used to wrap boxers' hands). He won just one of his 12 bouts. For a time, he roomed with Sonny King, who like Martin, was just starting in show business and had little money. Martin and King held bare-knuckle matches in their apartment, fighting until one of them was knocked out; people paid to watch. [wikipedia]