Dean Martin’s 100th Birthday Tribute

Smiles of heartfelt memories sweep over us as we celebrate Dean Martin’s 100th birthday on June 7th. Dean’s charismatic talent personified a debonair and cheeky demeanor with an underlying charm and allure that transcends time.

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Dean Martin and The Golddiggers circa 1977

We were blessed to be a part of The Dean Martin Golddiggers for almost two decades. We witnessed Dean’s mastery of entertainment and light-hearted fun on the Las Vegas stage and on television.

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Dean’s special warmth touches us even now as we listen to his unique inflections while he sings a song, tells a joke or casually gives a fun-loving look.

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The a glimpse of Dean and his Golddiggers from his TV 1973 show, with Country legend, Ray Stevens!

Our Las Vegas performances opening for Dean spanned from the 1970’s to the early 90’s. We became like a family and shared special occasions like birthdays and Christmas together, even some heartbreaking times.

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Backstage at Bally’s on Dean’s birthday about 32 years ago! Dean Martin and The Golddiggers circa 1985 – 86.

We are forever grateful for being a part of this dynamic time in show business but especially for sharing in Dean’s humanity.

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Giving Dean a birthday present after our show! From bottom left to right: Maria (Alberici) Lauren, Patti Gribow, Dean Martin, Linda (Alberici) Eichberg, Robyn Whatley

“What do you get the guy who has everything? He appeared to treasure those moments and, little by little, during our Vegas stays, he warmly unveiled his vulnerability and softer side to us.”

– Quote from, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

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And he did, he gave it his all! Thank you Dean and happy 100th birthday. We love you! 

 

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The book Beyond Our Wildest Dreams is available on Amazon!

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Gala Grand Opening – MGM Grand Hotel Las Vegas!

The Grand Opening of the Grandest Hotel in Las Vegas

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The Celebrity Room menu cover

Dean Martin and The Golddiggers were selected to open the new MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, the world’s largest casino! It was an elegant and gala affair! After the festive opening ceremonies, their sold out performance was held in the expansive, state of the art MGM Celebrity Room.

The story through the eyes of two of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers and Las Vegas historians is put together in a book. Excerpts from the book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

Linda: “On December 5, 1973 we were back in Las Vegas, this time to appear with Dean opening night at the brand new MGM Grand Hotel. I felt like a princess, the taxi that delivered us to the door could have been a carriage. It was all so glamorous.
Opening night was one of the most fabulous nights of my life. It was such a huge deal, a big event for the city of Las Vegas and for us. Vegas was so different then, it had that old Hollywood magic. The city had style, everybody dressed up in those days. I usually wore long, slinky gowns in the evenings, before and after the show.”

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Linda & Maria Alberici, two of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers



Maria: “I thought the MGM was incredibly gorgeous, I liked it much better than Caesars because that place was so dark inside. Everything was a lot grander, so to speak, at the MGM—more open, and it was all about the Hollywood experience so I loved it. The movie star pictures beside the rooms were so glamorous. I thought, ‘Oh, what star’s picture will my room be next to? Maybe some of her magic will rub off on me.'”



History in the Making

PBS, The American Experience: “Kirk Kerkorian surpassed the size and scope of the International when he built the MGM Grand. The hotel had 2,100 guest rooms, five gourmet restaurants and the world’s largest casino. At 26 stories high, the MGM Grand was the tallest casino in the free world.

The completion of the MGM Grand led to the corporate revolution in Las Vegas. In order to have the funds required to finance the $106 million MGM, Kerkorian sold his International and Flamingo Hotels to the Hilton Hotel Corporation, marking the first time a publicly owned conglomerate was in charge of a Las Vegas casino…”

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MGM Grand Hotel in the 1970’s – Photo Credit: UNLV Libraries

Dr. Gene Moehring, Professor of History, UNLV: “Raquel Welch was the one that set off the bomb that started the construction of the MGM Grand. You didn’t have any high rise hotels in Las Vegas until the Riviera in 1955 because there’s water under the valley and no one knew if the aquifers would mess up the high buildings. All the early hotels were two and three stories, that was it; they were like ranches that went on for fifty rooms but they weren’t high rises.

Vegas was the first place to give deluxe, using the French word, luxury rooms to the middle class for a low rate. When they ran the place in the fifties and sixties the mob would give you a nice room for ten dollars a night. They’d get it all back in the casinos. Very few hotels opened in Las Vegas in the seventies but in the sixties you had Caesars Palace open in 1966, Kerkorian had opened The International which is today the Las Vegas Hilton in 1968, and the first MGM Grand, today Bally’s, in 1973. ∗ So you had all that growth but it slowed down in the seventies…”

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

∗ The MGM fire in 1980 was the worst disaster in Las Vegas history.

Read more in the book BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS.

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Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’ Surprise Reunion

dean-martin-jerry-lewis-reunion-with-frank-sinatraJerry Lewis’ birthday is March 16th and we are reminded of when history was made in 1976. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis finally made peace. Frank Sinatra brought them together on the Jerry Lewis’ 1976 Labor Day MDA Telethon at the Sahara in Vegas; it was almost exactly twenty years to the day since their split in 1956. The event made headlines all over the world but it was not news to us and the rest of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers. You see, weeks before we saw the rekindling of their relationship unfold at the MGM. 

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Center: the ‘matchmaker’, Frank Sinatra with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

Excerpt from “BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS”

“Maria Lauren Alberici-Riccio (Golddigger, 1973 – 1991): Before the telethon reunion, Dean let us in on the private messages and jokes written with our lipstick that he had been leaving for Jerry Lewis via his dressing room mirror. Jerry played the MGM Grand and had left Dean some razzing but good humored remarks on the mirror prior to our engagement. Dean was like a little boy bragging about it to us, ‘Look at what I wrote to Jerry; look what ‘Crazy’ wrote to me. I answered him real good…’ He was so cute!”

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“Linda Alberici Eichberg (Golddigger, 1973 – 1989): When I congratulated Dean on making up with Jerry he blushed and said, ‘Aw, Frank’s idea, he wouldn’t leave me alone about it.’ I asked him, ‘Are you going to stay in touch?’ He only shrugged his shoulders as if to say, ‘Who knows?’ In any case, the world had been waiting for this moment for two decades and the press had a field day. And the Telethon took in boat loads of money because of Dean’s surprise visit…”

Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon

Read more! 

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Book Now on Amazon!

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Tom Jones – He’s Still Got That Lovin’ Feeling!

This years 57th Grammy Awards held a lot of surprises. One of the biggest was hearing Tom Jones sing. He sounded fantastic, as powerful as ever.

jessie-j-and-tom-jones-grammys-2015The legendary entertainer took on The Righteous Brothers’ pop hit, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” on the Grammy Awards, singing it as a duet with English vocalist Jessie J.

His appearance brought back memories of the first time we met Tom Jones. It was in 1973/1974. The Golddiggers were performing in Puerto Rico and so was Tom. At that time he was the hottest male sex symbol in the world. Women were throwing their hotel room keys onto the stage during his shows.

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Tom Jones with the 1973 Golddiggers group. From bottom left to right: Deborah Pratt, Maria (Alberici) Lauren-Riccio, Robin Hoctor Horneff, Tom Jones, Susan Buckner, Linda (Alberici) Eichberg, Patti (Pivarnik) Gribow

Excerpts from the book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

Robin Hoctor-Horneff, Golddigger 1973-1974: “We were headlining in Puerto Rico at the Helio Isla Hotel when Tom Jones dropped in to see us perform, he was there in the front row so we all got together at an afterparty. He left and a bunch of us girls stayed behind to grab something to eat. All of a sudden these three or four men came down, actually one of them was Tom’s teenaged son, they came over to me and said, ‘Tom Jones wants to see you up in his room.’ And I’m like, ‘What do you mean he wants to see me in his room?’ ‘He’s inviting you up to his room.’ ‘Well, if he wants to see me he can come down here and see me with everybody else.’” …

Maria (Alberici) Lauren-Riccio, Golddigger 1973-1991: “We couldn’t believe it! Tom was sitting in the front table throughout our show like he was the King of Sheba and we were his dancing girls. Then, he summoned the one he wanted and expected her to appear in his room. I thought, Yes, you are Tom Jones, a great entertainer with sexual energy but really!?” …

After the initial awkward meeting, Tom turned out to be a pretty friendly guy but did he ever get a room key? 

To view more go to: http://www.BeyondOurWildestDreams.com

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Times with Lee Hale, Dean Martin Show – Musical Director

Is there a man who could be a director and teacher for countless young women of ambition and changing hormones and never lose his cool? Yes! His name is Lee Hale. Being two of “The Golddiggers” from 1973 and until 2003 (with a few years off in between), we had the opportunity to see the enormous respect Lee Hale earned from the show business community and from celebrities. We never once saw Lee lose his patience. He was always open to listening and would be generous with advice that would be both truthful and supportive. As the musical director and a producer of Dean’s TV Shows and Specials, he remained humble and kind, Lee was the person who made us, and all of Dean’s guest stars, feel comfortable.

ImageLee was a performer himself, so we knew he understood us as performers. He was also a gifted writer who wrote clever musical material for Dean Martin’s TV Shows and for “The Golddiggers” shows. He knew how to bring the best out of each girl by finding a special song that would make her shine. Lee had great musical instincts! Like an Uncle or a Dad, he had a genuine caring and supportive attitude. Lee Hale is the person responsible for bringing the Golddiggers act through several decades. He always believed in our singing abilities and he gave us challenging, showstopping material that grew us into leading ladies. In addition to our television appearances, we were a popular Las Vegas opening act that worked regularly for Dean Martin and many other stars until Dean’s retirement.

Lee Hale, still is a talented singer and songwriter. He was fantastic in our ‘Showstoppers’ “Golddiggers Reunion Show” with his original song, “Prostate Blues”. It brought the house down. He is our mentor and friend. Today, we are proud to be standing along side this versatile man as writers sharing our individual stories about Dean Martin and friends in our books. We are very grateful to him for the contributions he made to our book, “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams.”

Lee, we are so blessed to have had you in our lives! Happy Birthday Lee!!
With love, Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg (Alberici Sisters)

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Alberici Sisters with Lee Hale at a recent book signing together

Excerpt from “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams”

“Lee Hale, Musical Director, The Dean Martin Show: Greg (Garrison) was always good to me because he kept upping my salary every year. I didn’t have any problem with him, he made it easy as far as The Dean Martin Show went because he never came around to rehearsals. Basically I put that show and the Golddiggers’ show together myself, just myself and the choreographer…

By the ninth season we were shooting on Saturdays. I would start on Monday putting together all the music for the show and deciding who was going to do what. Then on Tuesday we usually got our first guests in for rehearsal and they would rehearse Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Friday we had a run through with all the staff, the cameramen and everybody involved in the show who hadn’t seen our rehearsals. And then on Saturday we were in the studio and we did all the camera work ahead of time and then the orchestra rehearsal was three hours in the afternoon. Greg’s motto was “We’re not making records” so we couldn’t go past that three-hour period. And I don’t think we ever did, we had to rush things along. The best part of it was, the writers and any agents or managers were not allowed at rehearsals so we just had the guests and us. The guests were always on their best behavior because they wanted to be part of a hit show so they didn’t give me any trouble…”  copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams 2012 – 2013

                                         

                  Books by Lee HaleImage

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Purchase The Lee Hale Story: http://www.amazon.com/The-Lee-Hale-Story-Entertainers/dp/0984787801