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!

© Copyright, all rights reserved

100 Years of Frank Sinatra

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Photo credit: Frank Sinatra Enterprises

Memories of the master entertainer, Frank Sinatra, both on-stage and off-stage come to mind, as this year marks what would have been 100 fabulous years for this nine-time Grammy winner. There’s no better time to celebrate Sinatra’s excellence in the industry and reminisce about our summer touring with Frank and his pal, Dean Martin.

For your enjoyment, we share some of our experiences as the opening act for Sinatra and Martin when we were a part of the singing and dancing girl group, The Golddiggers.  It was a double honor to tour with this historical show in 1977, to say the least!

Excerpts from the book BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS:

Linda: Frank’s act was superb. When people have their craft down like he did, you can’t put your finger on one certain thing that makes it great but it was. He had a combination of attributes that were spellbinding in the same way his albums had an inherent quality with magnificent Don Costa arrangements on those immortal Sinatra classics like the swinging ‘Night and Day,’ or his signature tune in the seventies, ‘My Way.’ Before breaking into his traditional closer, Frank usually gave a shout out to Don Costa and Paul Anka, the song’s author. ‘My Way’ could have come across as an arrogant declaration of will but Sinatra transformed it into a soul searching ballad that revealed his vulnerability and wisdom.

And then the comedy would start again. The most irreverent comments were made at the mobile bar Dean wheeled out after Sinatra finished ‘My Way.’ That’s where they fired off silly toasts and told jokes. I’m not sure if there was real alcohol in their glasses but the more they drank, the nuttier they got.

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After that, Dean and Frank launched into a lighthearted medley of songs including some of their hits— ‘I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,’ ‘Embraceable You,’ ‘The Lady Is a Tramp’ and ‘When you’re Smiling.’ The audience cheered as the two pros harmonized together, Dean taking the lower baritone notes with Frank taking the higher tenor notes. All of it was sheer magic.

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Frank Sinatra with The Alberici Sisters, Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg, two of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers

Maria: From our more intimate perspective off stage I could see that Frank was attempting to portray a hipper image. He had changed some of his standard arrangements to be like the trendy music played in New York’s Studio 54 where the ‘Jet Set’ partied. Frank opened with ‘All or Nothing at All’ set to a driving disco beat. Of course, this arrangement still had the big band sound that had become part of the Sinatra experience. Frank also performed ‘Night and Day’ with a percussive big brass beat. Sinatra was so smart to get on the disco bandwagon, he was always adapting to new musical styles and the top forty in 1977 was crowded with disco remakes of familiar songs. I liked the flavor of the music but Frank seemed a little out of his comfort zone, especially with the rhythm. Frank’s style fit better with his standard swing arrangement of ‘Night and Day’ but I would have jumped at the opportunity to sing to this new hip version.
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Linda: Dean was high as a kite during one Sabre Room performance Maria and I had the opportunity to watch from backstage. It could have been that he was drinking but I don’t know…  Dean was really loose during his monologue that evening, he started out stumbling over his words. Dean nicely reminded one heckler, “I don’t need this at all, don’t need this at all…. I love to work because I’m working with my good buddy, that’s all.” I realized, in that moment, that Dean didn’t have to invite us on this tour either. He just wanted us to be there with him. My heart swelled and I appreciated how much he cared about us as a group.

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THE GOLDDIGGERS: bottom Lf. to Rt. – Patti Gribow, Maria Lauren, Joyce Garro, Pegy Gohl and Robyn Whatley

Linda: Dean’s singing was in rare form when he started, ‘Welcome To My World’ but the spell was quickly broken when Frank Sinatra wisecracked from a backstage mic, “Come on, it’s my world, you’re just livin’ in it.” It was a riot.
Of course Dean got back at him. After Sinatra started to sing, “When I was seventeen…. Dean quipped from backstage, “You were a pain in the ass!”

Maria: Frank continued his off mic comments during Dean’s numbers and at one point succeeded in making him really forget the words. They got a kick out of messing each other up but it was the roar of the audience that kept them frisky.

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Souvenir scarf from Frank and Dean’s 1977 tour

Dean on stage in Chicago, June 10, 1977:

Here’s a song that maybe six or seven of you might remember. And I hope I’m one of ‘em.”

Maria: Their medley together had the usual goof ups but they were obviously having such a good time who could help but get caught up in it? A rousing version of ‘ The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game’ from Guys and Dolls closed the show, and the tour, in Chicago on the fourteenth of June.

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Frank Sinatra is a voice for all generations. We are delighted to give a special tribute to Frank in our live shows, singing the best of his signature songs. Thank you for the music and happy 100th birthday Mr. Sinatra!

Be sure to watch Sinatra 100– An All-Star Grammy Concert, on CBS December 6, when the biggest names in the business will come together to honor Frank Sinatra and his music in a television extravaganza. It will be a rare treat.

Alberici Sisters - Authors - Entertainers - Motivators

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS now available on Amazon.

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. Rights reserved. May not be used without expressed written permission.

Dean Martin’s Stingers and Zingers

A new release by Star Vista Entertainment – “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Stingers & Zingers”

There are plenty of stingers and zingers in this eight disk collection. “Dean and pals skewer the celebrity roastees and deflect barbs from notables which include: Frank Sinatra, Michael Landon, Wilt Chamberlain, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Carroll O’Connor, Hubert Humphrey, Valerie Harper, Joe Namath, Dan Haggerty, Redd Foxx and many others. You’ll also get bonus comedy sketches, and over 10 exclusive interviews with Ed Asner, Carol Burnett, Tony Danza and other roast participants and fans.

The former Dean Martin Golddiggers recall some hilarious moments with these television legends while taping the Dean Martin Comedy Hour and the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts .

Excerpts from the book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

Deborah-Pratt

Deborah Pratt

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Deborah Pratt, Golddigger 1973-1974:

“Sometimes the Roasts were very funny and sometimes they were just acerbic. Don Rickles—if he was on he could be hysterical. If he was off he was just mean. Dean was always gracious but he just walked through it, I think.”

Don Rickles had several moniker’s – “Mr. Warmth” & “Master of Malice” were two of them.

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Don Rickles

Don Rickles, Dean Martin Roast: “This is one of the great all time thrills I’ve ever had. This is a bigger thrill than watching Pat Boone autograph hockey pucks during the Ice Follies…Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, has been a great star for so many years. This man was married to a great many women in his life. They’re all flat now.”

 

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Linda Eichberg

Linda Alberici Eichberg, (Dean Martin Golddigger 1973 – 1989) “Foster Brooks was another one who always had us in stitches. Sometimes we could hardly breathe we were laughing so hard from his drunk routine.

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Foster Brooks -YouTube.com

After we taped our musical numbers with Dean, part of our job was to sit in the audience while they shot the Dean Martin Roasts, at least the segments that were filmed on Stage 4 at NBC. They also made a deal to film some portions of the Roasts at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. We did them back to back, we shot the variety show segments in the afternoon and the Roasts later that night. It was a pretty long day but the Roasts section was hardly work and it gave us time to unwind. Waiting around in between takes I had some pleasant conversations with Howard Cosell. He was pretty cool. I was too shy to talk to most people but I felt safe and at ease with him.

Dean Martin-Celebrity-RoastsGreg Garrison liked to have sports stars on the show every now and again. On one show they roasted Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain. We were shooting the breeze after the show with Audrey Meadows, Ken Berry, and George Kennedy when Wilt strode over toward us. Wow, he cast a large shadow. Even in my highest heels I wasn’t as high as his chest. Wilt had a sensational personality but I had to strain my neck to have an eye to eye conversation with him. A couple of the girls kept in touch with him and a few months later Wilt took some of us to a club in Beverly Hills. He picked us up in his white station wagon. When we got in we couldn’t believe what we saw. There wasn’t a front driver’s seat. Wilt drove from the back seat! The inside of the car was completely gutted and remodeled to fit his gigantic frame.”

Foster Brooks, Dean Martin Comedy Roasts: “The last time I was next to Dean somebody stepped on my tongue”! 

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Maria Lauren

Maria (Alberici) Lauren, (Dean Martin Golddigger 1973 – 1991): “The Dean Martin Roasts were great entertainment, it was a big party loaded with laughs and we were invited! To think, we were getting paid to sit in the audience to enjoy this banquet of talent, a buffet of comedy. The jokes and kidding around was a delight.

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Zsa Zsa Gabor

I ran into into Zsa Zsa Gabor a couple of times, once in the ladies’ room when we were out to dinner in Beverly Hills. She was lovely to talk to but I almost had to pinch myself. Here I was nonchalantly applying my make-up with the queen of glamor, Zsa Zsa Gabor! I was with the most famous “gold digger’’ of them all, a major part of the Beverly Hills elite.”



Dean Martin, Dean Martin Roast of Zsa Zsa Gabor: “Well, tonight we salute Zsa Zsa, the most famous of the Gabor sisters. You all know the Gabor sisters, the original Golddiggers? Doesn’t Zsa Zsa look great? It’s a wonder she’s still alive with all the blood tests she’s taken for marriage licenses.”

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Patti Gribow



Patti (Pivarnik) Gribow, Golddigger 1973-1985:

“We were able to see everyone from Lucy to Michael Landon to President Reagan—you name it, the list goes on and on and on.”

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Michael Landon

“The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Stingers & Zingers” delivers the laughs with help from some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Order your collection today!

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© Copyright, all rights reserved – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

NBC and The Tonight Show ‘Gold’

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Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Carson and Frank Sinatra

We taped Dean Martin’s TV Show at NBC in Studio 4, right next to the famed “Tonight Show”. You never knew who you were going to run in to during a taping or rehearsal. There was always a cavalcade of stars passing through, a Hollywood ‘Who’s Who’. It was 1974 and “The Tonight Show” and “The Dean Martin Comedy Hour” were the ‘kings’ of the television variety shows.

Excerpt from the book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

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Linda (Alberici) Eichberg, Dean Martin Golddigger: We started meeting some other stars and realized they were not like their TV identities. I would come across Johnny Carson in the hallways of NBC a lot and make small talk; he’d ask us who was on Dean’s show that week. He was not as tall as I thought he was going to be but he was every bit as charming as he was on television. In general the celebrities we met were smaller in stature than they appeared on TV.”

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Deborah Pratt, Golddigger 1973-1974: We saw Johnny Carson at NBC and I thought, ‘Oh my God, my whole life I’ve wanted to be on The Tonight Show.’ I got up and as soon as I got up everybody joined me. We walked over to him and I said, ‘Excuse me Mr. Carson, we’re the Golddiggers and we want to be on your show.’ He sucked in his gut and kind of puffed up his chest and went, ‘Yes, of course, we’ll take care of that.’ Whoever his secretary was at his side said, ‘All right, we’ll handle that, when are you going to be in Vegas, and blah, blah, blah.’ They put it all together for us and the night we were on the show Joey Bishop was hosting… I was mad because he wasn’t Johnny Carson.”

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Maria (Alberici) Lauren, Dean Martin Golddigger: We did ‘Shake Your Tambourine’ and we all got to say something. Here we are two sisters from Newtown Square, Pennsylvania doing The Tonight Show! I didn’t care if Johnny Carson wasn’t the host that night. Joey Bishop was from our hometown area, so that was cool; plus he was a member of Dean’s fabled Rat Pack.”

*****

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The Rat Pack: Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Dean Martin

Johnny Carson also took the stage as a member of the Rat Pack. This famous live performance in St. Louis later became a TV special. Johnny even sings a little. Frank, Dean, Sammy and Johnny are having a ball in this clip from the show. The four of them together are classic!

In the early 1980’s…

We, the Alberici Sisters had a leave-of-absence from The Golddiggers for a few years and had the opportunity of be the opening act for a popular up and coming comedian named Jay Leno. We performed at a convention in Chicago together. He made an impression on us. We liked the refreshing ‘down home’ style of his show. He was the nicest guy.

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We appreciated the many years Jay Leno hosted “The Tonight Show.” There were a lot of laughs and superb guests. It was sad to see Jay leave the show but we are enjoying Jimmy Fallon. He’s a tremendous talent!

Good luck Jimmy; thanks for keeping variety shows alive!

 

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. All rights reserved.

 

The Dean Martin Show – Golddiggers Reunion 2013

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Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg at The Dean Martin Golddiggers reunion,

A highlight of 2013 was the “Gold Event”! It was a reunion for those involved in the Dean Martin television shows and specials. Over the years, we performed with a variety of gals as the Dean Martin Golddiggers, some of them we haven’t seen in years, so this was a wonderful way to celebrate along with celebrities and those who worked so diligently behind-the-scenes.

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The Golddiggers with Lee Hale, Dean Martin Show musical director

Lovely Ladies from all over America attended, representing several groups of “Golddiggers”  from 1968 to 1991.

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Golddiggers Reunite! From left to right: Peggy Gohl, Colleen Kincaid Jackson, Linda Alberici Eichberg, Maria Lauren Alberici-Riccio, Melody Walczuk, Linda Bott, Patti Pivarnik Gribow, Marie Halton Peck & Joyce Garro

At the reunion, we had the opportunity to spend a few moments with the incomparable Florence Henderson and other guests of “The Dean Martin Show.”

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We wish you a blessed Holiday season. As we begin to celebrate the joys of Christmas, it is also sad to remember the passing of Dean Martin on Christmas day. However, this feeling is short lived as we remember our cherished moments with Dean.

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Photo Credit – timelife.com

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The Golddiggers, Christmas album

A GIFT FOR THE HOLIDAYS…

Alberici Sisters - Authors - Entertainers - Motivators

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS captures behind-the-scene stories at the Dean Martin Show and touring with superstars like Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, Gene Kelly, Jerry Vale, Donald O’Connor, Steve & Eydie,  Bob Hope, and so many more. Over 300 pictures! Exciting book selling on Amazon!

Enjoy some laughs! Dean Martin Roasts on YouTube!

All contents of this blog, copyright – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

“Pretty Little Liars” – Pretty Little Friends

Pretty-Little-Liars-UsFrom the Editors of Us magazine, Collectors Edition of “Pretty Little Liars” on ABC Family, being displayed until October 10, 2013.

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS stars: Troian Bellisario, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell and Ashley Benson.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!” was the statement used in Us Magazine to describe actress, Troian Bellisario of “Pretty Little Liars.” and her mom, actress and award winning writer, Deborah Pratt.

Watching Troian Bellisario grow into an accomplished actress has been a life long journey for us. Her mom is one of our Golddigger ‘gal pals’ from the “Dean Martin Show” and our families continue our friendship today.

The-Golddiggers-Alberici-Sisters-copyright-Beyond-Our-Wildest-DreamsFrom bottom left to right, clockwise: Linda Alberici Eichberg, Colleen Kincaid-Jackson, Robin Hoctor-Horneff, Deborah Pratt, Maria Lauren, Lee Nolting, Susan Buckner & Patti Gribow.

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Like her mom, Troian is a stunningly beautiful and talented woman. She is highly acclaimed for her role as Spencer Hastings in the TV series, “Pretty Little Liars.”
TROIAN BELLISARIO
We have shared many celebrations with Deborah and our ‘Golddigger sisters’.
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Maria & Linda sharing good times with Deborah Pratt and Patti Gribow.

After our Golddigger years there were weddings, New Years and many birthday celebrations throughout the years. Likewise our children have shared many memories and momentous events together.

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Troian Bellisario with Maria’s daughter, Marianna Riccio and Patti’s daughter, Gina Gribow at Marianna’s First Holy Communion.

Lindsay-Eichberg-Troian-Bellisario-copyright-Linda-EichbergLinda’s daughter, Lindsay Eichberg, with Troian at a birthday luncheon.
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Troian gives Lindsay a ride at her first birthday party. 

When Troian was only three years old, she already had begun her career acting in the movie “Last Rites”.

A part of show business royalty, Troian’s father, Donald Bellisario created and produced many hit television series including “JAG”.

 
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Teenagers, Marianna and Troian

Troian and Marianna took their first swimming lessons together before they could even walk.

While in college, Troian and Marianna continued to share their love for the performing arts and starred in their individual alma-mater’s theater productions.

We have wonderful memories of childhood fun with Troian and our daughters Marianna and Lindsay. Isn’t that what life is all about… enduring friendships and lasting memories. 

Troian-Bellisario

Beauty inside and out…

Our daughters are now the same age we were when we performed and toured together as the Dean Martin Golddiggers with the stars of television and Vegas during the groovy 70’s.

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS, book excerpts:

Maria: “Our times in The Golddiggers gave us a lifetime of experiences. All of us girls were very different but very alike in many ways. We had a deep sense of caring for each other and professionalism.” (p. 317)

Deborah: “We were backstage in Dean’s suite one night when the Rat Pack walked in. I’m sitting between Danny Thomas and Sammy Davis Jr. and Danny Thomas looked at me and said, ‘Well, you’re the highest yellow black woman I’ve ever seen in my life,’ and Sammy hit him! It was really funny, and I turned around and said, ‘It’s nice to meet you too.'” (p. 124 – 125)

Linda: “Several of the girls in the group were Christians, all of us were brought up with strong family values. We continually had to wrestle with the values we grew up with verses the standards of Hollywood and the rest of the world.” (p. 136)

– Registered Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams Beyond-Our-Wildest-Dreams

Dean Martin Up Close

Up close and personal with Dean Martin… he made it seem all so easy…

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Dean Martin – The King of Cool

“While the truth about Martin’s habits is hard to come by, certain facts about his career are crystal clear. Once considered en route to oblivion as the lesser half of the sundered comedy team of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, he is now America’s highest-paid entertainer. And he is the only star who is a consistent draw at the theater while also appearing on weekly television. His defiance of traditional taboos and his obviousvirility (liquor+golf+an eye for girls) have made Martin a hero with the male audience. His Italian good looks, his suave manner and his way of cuddling up to a romantic ballad are enormously appealing to women. Thus, he is one of the few stars who seem to be liked equally by both sexes.” – Good Housekeeping, 1967; Excerpt  from Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

In our book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, we dig deep into the “King of Cool” image to find a man with a warm heart. It was an honor to perform with him as part of The Golddiggers but we were touched with a smile of pride when Dean fondly called us, “My Girls.”

maria-lauren- (aka)-maria elena-alberici - riccioMaria: My first impression upon meeting Dean Martin was that he was very, very charming. He looked the same in person as he did on TV. I can’t say that about all the stars I’ve met. It was a pleasure to watch him interact with all us girls. He never made a vulgar or cheap comment or anything like that. He was fun loving, good natured and made you feel comfortable.”Excerpt from Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

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Patti (Pivarnik) Gribow, Golddigger 1973-1977: My mom and all her friends were in love with Dean and, of course, his good looks. The persona, Dean Martin, appeared to be a cad and a real ‘player’ but in reality Dean was one of the nicest and genteel men I have ever met. He was exceedingly humble and once told me, “It’s so hard to be mean and so easy to be nice.” I will always carry that memory with me.”Excerpt from Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

Dean loved country music and on the Dean Martin Comedy Hour, Dean sang with the best country stars of the 70’s including Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Buck Owens, Doug Dillard, Lynn Anderson, Crystal Gayle, The Statler Brothers and many others.

Linda-Alberici-Eichberg “Linda: The country set was like a breath of fresh air equipped with a barn, a plow and a miniature horse. We would sing a sweet ballad on stacks of hay, our colorful prairie gowns draped around us and then skip to the other side of the set to sing the next song to some guitar picking and fiddle playing. I grew to have a greater appreciation of country music singing songs like ‘I Was Raised on Country Sunshine’, ‘You Got a Friend’, ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon’, ‘Houston’, ‘Jambalaya (On the Bayou)’ and ‘Country Roads’. Maria and I were ecstatic when we saw in the script that we would be doing ‘I Believe in Music’ with Dean. We sang the verse while Dean joined us for the chorus and then the whole cast extended their harmonies for a reprise as the scene peaked for a big finish—then cut to commercial.” – Excerpt from Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

DEAN MARTIN FANS…

The Dean Martin Fan Center Magazine is styled in a newsletter format filled with stories, photos, information, past and up-to-date current happenings by Neil Daniels.

Also, check out the Dean Martin Fan Center Website containing interesting topics pertaining to Dean Martin including “Showstoppers,” our musical tribute to Dean Martin and the showstopping entertainers with whom we performed.

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Dean Martin “Rat Pack”

June 7th is Dean Martin’s birthday. We celebrate the man and the entertainer!!