Celebrations this month in two cities – Las Vegas and Steubenville, Ohio – will honor what would have been the 100th birthday of Dean Martin, the actor-singer and member of the legendary Rat Pack that enthralled Vegas audiences in the 1960s.
“There’s, of course, a lot of Dean Martin music plus ‘Uncle’ Frank Sinatra, ‘Uncle’ Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Darin, a little Ella Fitzgerald,” she said. “It’s all the great songs and then, of course, my own songs.”
“I always honor my dad and all of the music of ‘The Great American Songbook,’ ” she said. Martin also will share personal family stories to mark the centennial of her dad’s birth during shows at the Showroom at the South Point Casino.
“I have to recognize what Dean Martin did for the world, the joy he brought to everyone. And [to] Las Vegas,” she added.
Martin said the showroom at the South Point reminds her of the old Copa Room at the Sands hotel, which closed long ago and was imploded in 1996.
“I remember going to Vegas when I was very little,” she said. “I remember the first time in the Copa Room at the Sands hotel.… You’d hear the announcer: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the Sands hotel is proud to present the star of our show, direct from the bar, Dean Martin.’ And my dad walked out. He was in a tuxedo with a red pocket square and he looked so handsome.”
Martin will sing several of her father’s most famous songs – think “Everybody Loves Somebody,” “That’s Amore” and “Volare” – and share video clips. Several members of the Original Golddiggers, who debuted on Martin’s TV show in the late 1960s, will also perform.
She recalled another Vegas icon, Elvis Presley, once told her, “They call me the King of Rock and Roll, but your dad is the King of Cool.”
Tickets cost $15 to $25 and are available online or by calling (866) 791-7626.
In another tribute to Dean Martin, the Las Vegas Convention Center is featuring a free photo exhibition.
Photos from the Las Vegas News Bureau’s archives are showcased in two displays: one in the convention center’s main lobby, the other on the central concourse. Photos underscore Martin’s many connections to the Sin City stage, from solo concerts through the Rat Pack days (with Sinatra, Davis, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford) to his celebrity roasts, which were filmed in Vegas.
The photo tributes will be on display through the end of August.
The King of Cool will also be remembered this weekend in Steubenville, the Ohio River town where he was born as Dino Paul Crocetti.
The annual Dean Martin Festival will celebrate the centennial of his birth with music – Deana Martin will perform on Saturday – and a special Mass at 9 a.m. Sunday at Holy Family Church.
While there will be plenty of toasts to Dino in Steubenville, his daughter said he wasn’t really that big a drinker. That highball glass he usually had on stage was filled with apple juice.
“That was his gimmick and he was very good at it,” she said. “Frank Sinatra said, ‘I spill more than Dean drinks.’ ”