Dean Martin was more than just his singing and acting skills. The iconic entertainer was the loving father of his eight kids. Although Dean’s late children, Claudia, Dean and Ricci, are no longer around, his legacy lives on in Craig, Gail, Deana, Gina and Sasha.
The “That’s Amore” singer became a dad with his first wife, Elizabeth Anne McDonald. The couple married in 1941 and welcomed their eldest child, Craig, the next year, followed by Claudia in 1944 and Gail in 1945. Dean and Elizabeth’s fourth child, Deana, arrived in 1948, just a year before they called it quits in 1949.
That same year, the Rio Bravo actor found love with Jeanne Martin. Following their nuptials, they expanded his family with the birth of their son Dean in 1951. The “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” crooner and Jeanne also welcomed son Ricci in 1953 and daughter Gina in 1956, but they split after 24 years of marriage in 1973.
Dean’s brood grew for the final time when he walked down the aisle with Catherine Hawn. The Grammy Award winner and his third wife didn’t welcome children of their own together, but he adopted her daughter, Sasha, in the early days of their relationship.
The legendary actor was, of course, cementing his status as a Hollywood star at the time he was raising his kids, but Dean’s dedication to parenthood was unwavering. In fact, his daughter Deana said her dad preferred to be with his kids than working on set.
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“Sure, he would go on the road, but not a lot, because he loved to be home,” Deana exclusively shared with Closer Weekly in December 2020. “He liked to play games and cards with us, and we would all have dinner together. He was funny and sweet and always had a smile on his face.”
In a previous interview with Closer in December 2018, the Young Billy Young actress said her famous father “loved being at home” because of her loud and comical siblings. “The house was filled with laughter,” she gushed.
But when he was traveling for his Hollywood career, Deana said she and her siblings “couldn’t wait” for him to return home. “He was just so warm, sweet, funny, and cool,” she marveled to Closer.
Dean sadly died at age 78 on Christmas Day in 1995, but there hasn’t been a day that goes by that his kids don’t think of him. “He is with me all the time,” Deana sweetly added.
It was announced in November 2021 that filmmaker Tom Donahue’s new documentary, Dean Martin: King of Cool, would premiere on Turner Classic Movies. In an interview with Palm Springs Life, Tom shed light on how much family really meant to Dean throughout his life.
“I think it’s a certain value system that valued family, and it goes back to his Italian lineage, and really, everything he did was in trying to create families, whether it was The Rat Pack, the celebrity roasts, his first family, his second family,” the director said. “He was very tight with the people that he knew and loved and very loyal to them.”
Scroll through the gallery below to learn more about Dean’s eight kids.
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