cover image Dino


Nick Tosches. Doubleday Books, $24 (572pp) ISBN 978-0-385-26216-3

An immigrant barber's son, high-school dropout Dino Crocetti--aka Dean Martin--left a job in an Ohio steel mill to achieve what no one before him had pulled off: simultaneous fame as a star of stage, movies, TV and records. But if this brilliant, freewheeling, acid biography is correct, it was all a racket to Martin, depicted here as an emotional loner driven to possess the world, a rogue who changed wives like suits and duped fans with the image of a faithful family man while he endlessly took lovers, drank, gambled and popped pills. Tosches, biographer of Jerry Lee Lewis ( Hellfire ), seemingly leaves no stone unturned as he examines Martin's behind-the-scenes bickering with partner Jerry Lewis, his underworld connections, his cavorting with Sinatra and JFK's Rat Pack, his many affairs and his increasing emotional withdrawal. Although this is a deeply unflattering portrait of Martin, now 74, it will nevertheless be a feast for fans because of its detailed coverage of the star's multiple careers. Photos. Author tour. (July)