Dean Martin’s Lush Life

Dean Martin was known for his relaxed singing style and his excessive drinking — a reputation he said wasn’t deserved.

Dean Martin smiling

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Originally published April 29, 1961

“How much do you really drink?” Post interviewer Pete Martin asked.

“About one-tenth as much as I pretend to. I used to really knock the hookers of sauce back, but I gave that up some time ago. Take a typical day here in Vegas. I get up at 11:30 every morning. By 12:30, I’m out on the first tee with three guys I play around with. I’m through about 15 minutes to four. Then I come in and have a sandwich and a bottle of beer. I’d be at the blackjack table and play until about 5:00.

“All that time I’d have nothing to drink except that one beer. Then I go to the health club. A guy gives me a massage, and I say, ‘Wake me at 7:30.’ He wakes me. I put on my clothes while I’m having four cups of black coffee and sugar, no cream. About 8:15 I’m in the casino playing a little more blackjack. I play until 8:30. Then I walk into the dining room, they announce my name, I get up on the stage, and I invariably overhear somebody at a ringside table say, ‘Look at his eyes! You can see how drunk he is.’”

Singer Dean Martin dealing cards at a blackjack table.
Big draw: At the Sands Hotel, Martin isn’t faking when he stands in as a blackjack dealer — he once was a professional croupier. (© SEPS)

I looked at his eyes. They did sort of droop at the corners.

He went on, “I’ll have a slug of a liquid in an Old Fashioned glass that looks like scotch right in front of everybody, but it’s really apple juice. Then, in the middle of my act, I have a real drink. When I’m through with the act, I go someplace and eat some good Italian food. I have a little wine with that meal, then I get back on stage for the second show. When that’s over, I have three or four or five drinks and maybe a sleeping pill. So that’s your alcoholic for you.”

“All right,” I said, “but you’re a legendary drinker to the public.”

“I’m responsible for that,” he said, “because I’ve joked about it so much on the stage. I don’t want to disillusion people, but it’s been years since anyone has seen me really stoned. I don’t want to throw bouquets at myself either, but I’m 43, and I couldn’t look as young as I do and play as much golf as I do if I drank and cavorted as much as the public thinks.”

The first page of the article, "I Call on Dean Martin" as it appeared in the Saturday Evening Post
Read “I Call on Dean Martin,” by Pete Martin, from the April 29, 1961, issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Become a subscriber to gain access to all of the issues of The Saturday Evening Post dating back to 1821.

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