Dean Martin is an American icon, perhaps one that is somewhat overlooked because he seemed happier letting his often-hot-headed Rat Pack pally create most of the headlines, but if you read about Martin today, there’s one word that never fails to get mentioned describing him: cool. 2017 is a special year for Martin’s fans because it marks what would have been his 100th birthday, so it’s no wonder he’s being honored by the Los Angeles Italia Film, Fashion and Art Festival from February 19-25.
While the man once called “the coolest man who ever lived,” by Playboy magazine was an icon at home in the USA, he was practically a god for Italian Americans. He and Frank Sinatra, also of Italian descent, of course, had enough similarities to complement each other on the stage and silver screen, but had attributes that were almost opposites that undoubtedly worked to the benefit of their friendship. With the Chairman of the Board naturally taking charge in most situations, Martin was fine with being low-key and making the most of the privacy that goes with such behavior for passions such as golf.
The LA Italia Fest directly proceeds the Academy Awards, which tastes of irony since Martin joins a list of exemplary actors who were never nominated for an Oscar: Errol Flynn, Peter Lorre, Donald Sutherland, Mia Farrow, Myrna Loy, and Kim Novak to name a handful. Did you know Fred Astaire and Orson Welles were only nominated once and Cary Grant twice, never winning?
There’s no doubt the 100th birthday of Dean Martin needs celebrating and while I’m glad to honor him through song and comedy in many of my shows, I’m glad he’s being recognized in Hollywood by the culture he always embraced.
I’m ready for “Frank… A Musical Journey” Saturday, February 10th, 2017 at the fabulous McAnnich Arts Center in Glen Ellyn, Illinois - my second year in a row. Hope to see you!