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The Celebrity Archaeology Podcast


May 19, 2018

Two powerhouses of their time. Cary Grant & Dean Martin. Cary Grant (born January 18, 1904 as Archibald Alec Leach) was an English-American actor, known as one of classic Hollywood's definitive leading men. He began a career in Hollywood in the early 1930s, and became known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor, light-hearted approach to acting, and sense of comic timing. He became an American citizen in 1942. Born in Horfield, Bristol, Grant became attracted to theatre at a young age, and began performing with a troupe known as "The Penders" from the age of six. After attending Bishop Road Primary School and Fairfield Grammar School in Bristol, he toured the country as a stage performer, and decided to stay in New York City after a performance there. He established a name for himself in vaudevillein the 1920s and toured the United States before moving to Hollywood in the early 1930s. He initially appeared in crime films or dramas such as Blonde Venus(1932) and She Done Him Wrong(1933), but later gained renown for his appearances in romantic comedy and screwball comedy films such as The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing Up Baby (1938), His Girl Friday (1940) and The Philadelphia Story (1940). Along with the later Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) and I Was a Male War Bride (1949); these films are frequently cited as among the all-time great comedy films. Having established himself as a major Hollywood star, he was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Actor, for Penny Serenade (1941) and None but the Lonely Heart (1944). In the 1940s and 1950s, Grant forged a working relationship with the director Alfred Hitchcock, appearing in films such as Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), To Catch a Thief (1955) and North by Northwest (1959). Hitchcock admired Grant and considered him to have been the only actor that he had ever loved working with. Towards the end of his film career, Grant was praised by critics as a romantic leading man, and received five Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor nominations, including Indiscreet (1958) with Ingrid Bergman, That Touch of Mink (1962) with Doris Day, and Charade (1963) with Audrey Hepburn. He is remembered by critics for his unusually broad appeal, as a handsome, suave actor who did not take himself too seriously, possessing the ability to play with his own dignity in comedies without sacrificing it entirely. His comic timing and delivery made Grant what Premiere magazine considers to have been "quite simply, the funniest actor cinema has ever produced". Grant was married five times; three of his marriages were elopements with actresses Virginia Cherrill (1934-1935), Betsy Drake(1949-1962) and Dyan Cannon (1965-1968). He has one daughter with Cannon, Jennifer Grant (born 1966). After his retirement from film acting in 1966, Grant pursued numerous business interests, representing cosmetics firm Fabere and sitting on the board of MGM and others. He was presented with an Honorary Oscar by his friend Frank Sinatra at the 42nd Academy Awards in 1970, and in 1981, he was accorded at the Kennedy Center Honors. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Grant the second greatest male star of the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema, after Humphrey Bogart. He died November 29, 1986. Dean Martin Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti; June 7, 1917-December 25, 1995) was an American singer, actor, comedian and film producer. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed the "King of Cool" for his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assurance. He and Jerry Lewis formed the immensely popular comedy duo of Martin and Lewis, with Martin serving as the straight man to Lewis' slapstick hijinks. Martin went on to become a star of concert stages, nightclubs, audio recordings, motion pictures and television and was also a member of the "Rat Pack." TV and song Martin was the host of the television variety programs The Dean Martin Show and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. Martin's relaxed, warbling crooningvoice earned him dozens of hit singles, including his signature songs "Memories Are Made of This," "That's Amore," "Everybody Loves Somebody," "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You," "Sway," "Volare" and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head? Early years Martin was born on June 7, 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio, to an Italian father, Gaetano Alfonso Crocetti (1894-1967), and an Italian-American mother, Angela Crocetti (Barra; 1899-1966). They were married in 1914. His father, who was a barber, was originally from Montesilvano, in Abruzzo, and his maternal grandparents' origins are believed to be also from Abruzzo, although they are not clearly known. Martin had an older brother named William Alfonso Crocetti (1916-1968). Martin's first language was an Abruzzese dialect of Italian, and he did not speak English until he started school at the age of five. He attended Grant Elementary School in Steubenville, where he was bullied for his broken English. He later took up the drums as a hobby as a teenager. Martin then dropped out of Steubenville High School in the 10th grade because he thought he was smarter than his teachers. He bootlegged liquor, served as a speakeasy croupier, was a blackjackdealer, worked in a steel mill, and boxed as a welterweight. Dean as a boxer At 15, he was a boxer who billed himself as "Kid Crochet." His prizefighting earned him a broken nose (later straightened), a scarred lip, many broken knuckles (a result of not being able to afford tape used to wrap boxers' hands), and a bruised body. Of his 12 bouts, he said: "I won all but 11." For a time, he shared a New York City apartment with Sonny King, who like Martin, was starting in show business and had little money. Martin and King reportedly held bare-knuckle matches in their apartment, fighting until one was knocked out; people paid to watch. Martin knocked out King in the first round of an amateur boxing match. Martin gave up boxing to work as a roulette stickman and croupier in an illegal casinbehind a tobacco shop, where he had started as a stock boy. At the same time, he sang with local bands, calling himself "Dino Martini" (after the Metropolitan Opera tenor, Nino Martini). He got his break working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra. He sang in a crooning style influenced by Harry Mills (of the Mills Brothers), among others. In the early 1940s, he started singing for bandleader Sammy Watkins, who suggested he change his name to Dean Martin. Marriages In October 1941, Martin married Elizabeth "Betty" Anne McDonald. They had four children before the marriage ended in 1949. Martin worked for various bands throughout the early 1940s, mostly on looks and personality until he developed his own singing style. Martin flopped at the Riobamba, a nightclub in New York, when he followed Frank Sinatra in 1943, but it was the setting for their meeting. Martin was drafted into the United States Army in 1944 during World War II, serving a year in Akron, Ohio. He was reclassified as 4-F and discharged, possibly because of a double hernia; Jerry Lewis referred to the surgery Martin needed for this in his autobiography. By 1946, Martin was doing well, but he was little more than an East Coast nightclub singer with a common style, similar to that of Bing Crosby. The Rat Pack As Martin's solo career grew, he and Frank Sinatra became friends. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Martin and Sinatra, along with friends Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis, Jr.formed the Rat Pack, so-called after an earlier group of social friends, the Holmby Hills Rat Pack centered on Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, of which Sinatra had been a member (The Martin-Sinatra-Davis-Lawford-Bishop group referred to themselves as "The Summit" or "The Clan" and never as "The Rat Pack", although this has remained their identity in popular imagination). The men made films together, formed part of the Hollywood social scene, and were politically influential (through Lawford's marriage to Patricia Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy). The Rat Pack was legendary for its Las Vegas Strip performances. For example, the marquee at the Sands Hotel might read DEAN MARTIN, MAYBE FRANK, MAYBE SAMMY. Their appearances were valuable because the city would flood with wealthy gamblers. Their act (always in tuxedo) consisted of each singing individual numbers, duets and trios, along with seemingly improvised slapstick and chatter. In the socially charged 1960s, their jokes revolved around adult themes, such as Sinatra's womanizing and Martin's drinking, as well as Davis's race and religion. Sinatra and Martin supported the civil rights movement and refused to perform in clubs that would not allow African-American or Jewish performers. Posthumously, the Rat Pack has experienced a popular revival, inspiring the George Clooney/Brad Pitt "Ocean's Trilogy." Health Martin, a heavy smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in September 1993, and was told that he would require surgery to prolong his life, but he rejected it. He retired from public life in early 1995 and died of acute respiratory failure resulting from emphysema at his Beverly Hills home on Christmas Day, 1995 at the age of 78. The lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor. Martin's body was interred at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemeteryin Los Angeles. The crypt features the epitaph "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime", the title of his signature song. Links: The Book: https://amzn.to/2HrXUUS The Podcast on iTunes https://apple.co/2HGtPQZ Hear, rate and review the Podcast in iTunes! The Site: http://CelebrityArchaeology.com/podcastepisode 25