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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Family and Friends Remember Entertainer Dean Martin

Aired October 23, 2003 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the real Dean Martin, as his family, friends and one-time partner, Jerry Lewis, all knew him. Go behind the "Rat Pack" image, learn about the tragedy that changed him forever and sharing the memories with Jerry Lewis -- he and Dean were one of the most successful teams in show business history -- Nancy Sinatra, grew up a Hollywood neighbor of the Martin family; Phyllis Diller, a fixture on the legendary Dean Martin roasts; Dom Deluise, Dean's close friend and frequent comedy partner. Plus Dean Martin's son, Ricci Martin, and daughter, Deana Martin, and Dean's long-time friend, producer-director Greg Garrison.
Dean Martin as you never knew him next on LARRY KING LIVE.

What a group to gather tonight to celebrate, and what a life we're going to celebrate, the life and times of Dean Martin. You can't do it one hour. We'll probably have to do more shows. But we've assembled seven people who knew and loved him pretty well.

They are, of course, Ricci Martin in Vegas, Dean Martin's son, Deana Martin, his daughter, is here with us in Los Angeles. In San Diego is Jerry Lewis. And here in Los Angeles is Nancy Sinatra and Phyllis Diller and Dom Deluise and Greg Garrison. They're all aboard. All played significant parts in Dean's life.

And I guess, when you think about it, the first one of this whole group to meet him had to be Jerry Lewis. Had to be. How did that happen, Jerry? How did you and Dean meat?

JERRY LEWIS, TEAMED WITH DEAN MARTIN FOR 11 YEARS: I don't want to discuss that with you, Larry.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Well, thanks.

LEWIS: Let's just say that we go back to 1946. Dean and I met at the Belmont Plaza Hotel, and I fell in love with my hero. I had never seen anyone so handsome, and he was just -- he was just sporting a new nose, and I didn't know it. The old one was on his back, but I learned that later.

(LAUGHTER)

LEWIS: And we just hit it off immediately.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to get something that looks human.

DAN MARTIN: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Human? Look at that. Genuine hair. Watch his head. Look.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS: Before long, I was in Atlantic City. He came there. I'm trying to abbreviate a long, long story.

KING: Yes. I understand.

LEWIS: And The rest is history. I must say, though, that the meeting provoked the one greatest comedy team that ever happened in show business because unlike all the others, this one was packed with passion, emotion, and the love between two men. That was what the people loved and paid to see all the time.

KING: Greg Garrison, his long-time friend, producer and director, how'd you meet Dean?

GREG GARRISON, DEAN'S CLOSE FRIEND, PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR: I was hired to do the show. It was...

KING: The TV show?

GARRISON: Yes, the TV show. That was 38 years ago, 1965. And I went up to Vegas to meet him. He was playing at the Sands Hotel, and I walked in and I watched the show, and he did a great job looking like he was half bombed.

(LAUGHTER)

GARRISON: And when it was all over, I went backstage and I walked in and I said to Dean, My name is Greg Garrison, and it's nice to see you. And he said, Hey, pal. Sit down. He said, You want a cup of coffee? And I looked at him and I said, You're cold sober. He said, yes. I said, It's the greatest drunk act I've ever seen. And we started to use a touch of it in the show.

KING: Did you hit it off right away?

GARRISON: Well, I did a special for him about two years before. And the reason I was hired was because somebody said to him, He got me out early.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We're going to talk to the children last, since they got to know him last, I guess, among this group. Maybe not. How did you meet him, Dom?

DOM DELUISE, FRIEND OF DEAN MARTIN: I'll tell the you the truth. When Jerry said we were paying money -- I was playing hooky from school, and I went to the Paramount, and I would see a show. And they would do stuff, and I said, They're not -- they're not doing set material. Jerry Lewis was breaking a piano apart and throwing -- he had a baton, and he threw it in a box. And later on, I went and got that baton and I took it home with me. Then the next thing you know, Mr. Garrison hired me, and I was scared very much. I didn't finish the sentence correctly, but...

(LAUGHTER)

DELUISE: ... I was in a room, and I was supposed to perform and I was -- my mouth was dry. My tongue couldn't go. So he said, Come here, come here, come here. And after I failed in front of an audience, he took me into a room, and there was Dean Martin sitting on a couch, very relaxed. And I saw this coffee table with rolls and mustard and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and ham and cheese. And I said...

KING: Your kind of day.

DELUISE: Yes. This -- I could be friends with this guy.

(LAUGHTER)

DELUISE: You know what I mean? So -- and then I had 12 years of bliss.

KING: Bliss.

DELUISE: When you work with somebody who has no agenda, just, Let's do it, and he responds -- he responded to at the moment what was going on.

KING: Never heard a bad word about him. Nancy...

(CROSSTALK)

GARRISON: ... probably did the show more than any other performer.

KING: Yes, he was the most (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Nancy Sinatra, you met him through your dad?

NANCY SINATRA, FRANK SINATRA'S DAUGHTER: I met him when I was a little girl, and he was Uncle Dean, and he was always Uncle Dean. And then I fell in love with him one night at the Sands Hotel.

KING: Keeps going back to the Sands (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

SINATRA: The summit was meeting at the time, Frank and Dean and Sammy and Joey Bishop and a bunch of other people. I don't remember exactly. It could have been anybody.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN MARTIN: Can't you sing your own song? Oh, don't talk back to me!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SINATRA: So all the rowdiness was over, and my dad was on stage alone. And the violins started to play "It Was a Very Good Year." And Daddy starts the song (SINGING) When I was 17 -- and he's supposed to sing, (SINGING) it was a very good year -- and off stage is a microphone with Dean's -- your father's voice -- (SINGING) You were a pain in the ass!

(LAUGHTER)

SINATRA: And then everybody just lost it for a brief -- you know, like, two minutes of laughter. And the rest of the song played seriously, absolutely straight serious. And then he got to the last chorus (SINGING) And now the days grow short -- and Dean -- (SINGING) you're still a pain in the ass...

(LAUGHTER)

SINATRA: It was the funniest moment I've ever seen.

KING: Phyllis Diller, how'd you meet him?

PHYLLIS DILLER, FRIEND OF DEAN MARTIN: Well, I got hired to do the show. It was a great thrill for me. In fact, I just realized he's the only person that ever played Fang on stage.

KING: Really?

DILLER: Yes.

KING: You mean he...

DILLER: Because Fang was supposed to be...

KING: The crazy husband's name of Fang.

DILLER: ... an unknown person. But we actually did a Fang and Phyllis thing -- in a kitchen, of course.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: He was very nice to you, though.

DILLER: Oh, I adored him!

KING: What kind of father was he, Ricci?

RICCI MARTIN, DEAN MARTIN'S SON: Well, you know what? You know, I -- he was my idol, Larry, without a doubt. And that's why I'm out doing what I'm doing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "THE DEAN MARTIN VARIETY SHOW")

DEAN MARTIN: I'm a little worried about my youngest boy, Ricci. Yesterday, a kid down the block told Ricci all about the birds and the bees. Today a bee stung him, and he thinks he's pregnant!

(END VIDEO CLIP) RICCI MARTIN: People have this concept of Dad of -- of him being out all the time, but we would have dinner at 6:00 o'clock every single night, short of him going out and doing a motion picture and dressing up like a cowboy, and so on. But he was the greatest guy on the world. We'd cuddle on the couch. And you know, one time, Dean Paul, my brother and I, kind of got a little rough with him and kind of banged into his throat. And he said, "Hey, pallies, not the throat. Look around. You see the tennis court and the chandelier? Stay away from the throat, boys."

(LAUGHTER)

RICCI MARTIN: We never got near that again, Larry.

KING: Do you and Jerry's son do an act?

RICCI MARTIN: Well, actually, you know, I have my show, the tribute. Gary has been doing his show with the Playboys for years, and they hooked us up in Buffalo last July, and now we're going to be at the Sun Coast, kind of putting our shows slightly together, doing a couple numbers. But the two shows are together, and it's an honor and a privilege, you know, to be working with Jerry's son. It's almost coming full circle again. It's marvelous.

KING: Great idea. And Deana?

DEANA MARTIN, DEAN MARTIN'S DAUGHTER: Yes?

KING: What kind of father was he?

DEANA MARTIN: What kind of a father was he? He was -- he was a lot of fun. You know, we would -- as Ricci was saying, you know, he would -- you know, we would roughhouse around. You know, we would be in the swimming pool. We would have dinner every night.

And one of my -- one of my memories is that Dad was always coming home right on time. He was like clockwork. Everything was, you know, meticulous for him. He would walk through that back door, and I could hear the taps on his shows. You could hear them echoing down the hallway. And he'd walk into the kitchen, get a piece of Wonder Bread out, put a little peanut -- you know, put a little butter on it, fold it in half, walk into the living room, sit down on the couch and maybe fall asleep for a half hour. And then, you know, we would come in and we would, you know, spend some time...

KING: He lived that kind of ritualistic life?

DEANA MARTIN: Yes. He did. And then Mother would come in and say, All right, I need -- you know, I'm going to have my half hour with your dad. So, you know, get lost. And then they'd go down and they'd have a drink at the bar. And then -- you know, then we'd come in. It was time for us to come back. And we'd have dinner and we'd just have a great time.

KING: When we come back, we're going to about what made Dean Martin special, what was his greatness, lots of aspects, as we look at an extraordinary life. Born "Dino" Paul Crocetti -- is that the way...

DEANA MARTIN: That's correct.

KING: ...on June 7, 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio. He worked at a local steel mill, was a gas station attendant, a store clerk and a shoeshine boy. The life and times of Dean Martin. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "AT WAR WITH THE ARMY")

LEWIS: No, the whole band, they should play it together. And -- what are you waiting for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, buster, I don't do it unless the sergeant tells me.

DEAN MARTIN: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, folks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you in show business, too?

DEAN MARTIN: Are you kidding? Frank, Mrs. Lane -- Frank, show them your -- show her your dooby-dooby-doo.

FRANK SINATRA: Here?

DEAN MARTIN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you get your mind out of the gutter?

FRANK SINATRA: No, Mrs. Lane, what Dean means is that I sing just like him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, well, you have my deepest sympathy. Well, it's going to be a lovely party tonight. Some very nice girls are coming.

FRANK SINATRA: Do you have any trouble getting enough girls, Kenny?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course not! Girls are crazy about Kenny. All he has to do is call them.

DEAN MARTIN: Yes. Kenny sure has a way with call girls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Dean, by the way, dropped out of high school in 10th grade. He said he thought he was smarter than his teachers. His first show business break, he worked in a casino on the outskirts of Steubenville. And Dean Martin was a very special guy, right until the day he passed away, which was on Christmas Day, right?

DEANA MARTIN: That's right. Yes.

KING: All right. Each will probably have a different aspect of this. Jerry, what made Dean special?

LEWIS: Why didn't you ask me what kind of a father he was?

KING: Jerry, what made...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: What made Dean special?

LEWIS: I wasn't being facetious, Larry. He was. He was that. He was my hero. He was my father, my brother, my friend. And what made him special was that he wasn't even clear about the magnificence of his basic talent that happened to have been in his bones. His sense of humor, his sense of time, his ability to do what he did under the conditions that Greg Garrison will tell you about made him not only special, but probably as unique as anyone that was ever in our business.

KING: You're saying he didn't know how good he was?

LEWIS: Nor do -- none of us do, really, except that Dean had dibs on it. He just never, ever needed to calculate his worth because he had such a deep sense of what he had to do, and he went out and he did it. And he wasn't like I was, because when the show was over, I would rerun it in my mind to make sure we'd do it again or eliminate or add. When he finished the show, he was a living, breathing human man with wonderful foibles and wonderful masculine needs, and he never allowed the business encumber his life.

KING: Well said. Greg, what was special about him?

GARRISON: He was the greatest performer I've ever seen in my life.

KING: Really?

(CROSSTALK)

GARRISON: And maybe the nicest -- maybe the nicest man I ever knew in my life. He was an incredible man. The man was just a giant star. The man did music. The man did, you know, shows with Jerry.

KING: Very funny.

GARRISON: Yes. And he was -- I mean, he did television. His records are now selling all over and over again because of the roasts and the variety show that's coming on the air. The man could do anything.

KING: How about the attitude that he didn't work hard?

(LAUGHTER)

GARRISON: He made it look easy.

KING: You know, I mean, it looked like he...

GARRISON: He made it look easy. One of the greatest fighters I ever saw was a guy by the name of Sugar Ray Robinson, and he was a counterpuncher. And that's what we did with Dean.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "DEAN MARTIN CELEBRITY ROAST")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It takes many years to be a great comedian.

DEAN MARTIN: It sure does, and you haven't reached that year yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARRISON: We just set him up in set-up situations, put him in those situations and watch him get cute and work himself out of it. I remember once when Dom first came to us on the show. And he said, My God, I'm working with Dean! I'm working with Dean! You know, Can I touch him? Can I touch him? And I said, Dom, don't worry about it. I went over to Dean and I said, The kid just got here. He's just a kid. He's one of your guys from New York. I said, Tell him to touch you. Handle him, anything. So he went over to Dom, he said, Push me, hit me, do me, whatever you want!

(LAUGHTER)

GARRISON: And then it lasted and it went on and on and on. And we had the greatest time because what you saw on the air was what this man was. There wasn't a fake movement.

KING: How about the drinking?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB HOPE: Dean has always made news. Even as a kid, he made medical history. He was the first 7-year-old to have a liver transplant. Yes, he's been drinking since he was 7. His family didn't know he drank until one day they saw him sucking on a popsicle with an olive in it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: He did drink.

GARRISON: But never ever on the air. Never, ever had a drink when we were on the air.

KING: So when we saw that on television, it was all...

GARRISON: No. No. Absolutely. LEWIS: I can answer that, Larry.

GARRISON: Maybe once in a while in the club, but mostly...

LEWIS: I guess we're not hot, huh?

GARRISON: ...it was apple juice.

KING: Jerry, what?

LEWIS: I said I can really tell you about the drinking. I put the grape juice -- I'm sorry -- the apple juice and grapefruit juice on the piano for five years.

KING: That's what it was.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRISON: The piano player did the drinking.

(LAUGHTER)

LEWIS: But after the show, he'd have a scotch and soda and rarely finish that because he was busily engaged in other activities.

KING: Dom Deluise?

DELUISE: Well, one of the things that I noticed about Dean was that he came unprepared, but he trusted his instrument. So if -- and one time, I walked in and I supposed to sing "As Long As He Needs Me." And I said, You rang, sir? Something got screwed up. And they said, do it again. You rang, sir? And then he sat in the chair, and I came in. And the third time, I said, You tinkled, sir?

(LAUGHTER)

DELUISE: And he laughed so much. And I tell you, we did the song right after that. And so you saw Dean having a wonderful time. And then there's one other thing that happened. He sang, "Set `em up, Joe. It's a quarter to 3:00 and I have no place to go," whatever that last song is -- sad, right? And I was so moved, I started to cry.

So after the show -- and I had been working with him 10 years already -- I said, That was really great. You did that wonderfully. And he said, Did I? And at that moment, I saw this little boy, Dean Martin as a little boy that lived in him. And that's the part that was so precious because he was always in communication with that. I didn't know it because I -- you mean, he -- he needs a compliment from me? You know what I'm saying? And when I saw that little -- Yes, was it good? Oh -- I said, Oh, my -- my heart just went.

LEWIS: Hey, Larry...

KING: What was it like to work with him -- yes, Jerry?

LEWIS: Larry, you have to remember that Dean had 10 solid years of working with a 9-year-old.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS: Would you like a walnut?

DEAN MARTIN: I don't like walnuts. Besides, we haven't got any nutcrackers.

LEWIS: Oh, we don't need one, Daddy. You know that I have a special way to open these up, like I do for my friend, Herbie.

DEAN MARTIN: Your friend Herbie?

LEWIS: Yes.

DEAN MARTIN: How do you do it?

LEWIS: Open your mouth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS: I have to give you one smile. Hello, Dom.

DELUISE: Hello.

LEWIS: I got to tell you about Dominic. He calls me one day to find out how I am. He said, How are you doing? I said, Fine. Thank you, Dom. He said, Let me ask you something. When you get well, can I have your clothes?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: What was he like to work with, Phyllis?

DILLER: Oh, he was the greatest. I mean, I always felt that he wasn't really working. He was just having fun. And we would all arrive early in the morning, and he would come around noon, and then we'd really start to do the show. He didn't seem to ever rehearse. And I hate rehearsing, and a lot of people -- my people do.

KING: He hated to rehearse, too?

DILLER: Well, I don't know. He didn't rehearse. But everything was so fresh and spontaneous. That's why I don't like to rehearse. I like to get it right the first time, and funny.

KING: Now, your father was a perfectionist, though, wasn't he?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Frank was a perfectionist?

SINATRA: Very much so.

KING: But he...

GARRISON: Frank didn't do more than a couple of takes when he did movies, either, you know.

SINATRA: Well, no, that's not always true.

KING: But mostly true.

SINATRA: Yes. Mostly true.

KING: As we go to break, we're going to see a scene from the last movie Martin and Lewis made together. This is courtesy of Paramount Home Video. "Hollywood or Bust." Watch. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN MARTIN: Don't drown them. Just make snake eyes.

LEWIS: Oh, well, I see them that do that in the movies, like the (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

DEAN MARTIN: Make snake eyes -- 30 to 1.

LEWIS: Oh!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Snake eyes!

LEWIS: What happened? Oh! Oh! Steve, what's the matter?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN MARTIN: We'll play a game. What's my line? May I? I deal in services and I am bigger than a breadbox. Now, who am I?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's Matt Helm!

DEAN MARTIN: We got a winner!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with this outstanding panel. I'll reintroduce all of them in a couple of minutes, as we look at the life and times of Dean Martin. Ricci, the saddest day of his life, the day your brother was killed?

R. MARTIN: Certainly, Larry. It was. It was hard for all of us for many reasons. One is that we couldn't find the aircraft for five days, and that takes a toll on you. I don't know how people go through that with missing children or siblings. But that was very, very difficult. Dad was also -- you know, he had retired at that point, and I think a lot of the thrill of performing on stage had gone away. He'd worked all his life so very hard. But that certainly, I think, contributed to it in a big way, Larry.

KING: It was true, Nancy, he was never the same?

SINATRA: Never the same, no. That's true. That's the same mountain that my grandmother died in.

R. MARTIN: Yes.

KING: Same mountain.

SINATRA: Same damn mountain.

(CROSSTALK)

SINATRA: And Dean Paul always said, That mountain's in the wrong place. We should get rid of it. And then he was the next to go.

KING: Why'd he quit, Greg?

GARRISON: He couldn't hit the curveball anymore.

KING: You mean, he didn't...

GARRISON: Didn't want to try. It was over. Once the boy died, it was over.

KING: Really?

GARRISON: Yes. It was over. Finished.

KING: Because he did make a comeback tour, I remember, with Frank.

GARRISON: Yes, he just did that as a favor. He lasted about two performances up in San Francisco, then they went to Chicago, one performance, and he got on the airplane and he came home. He couldn't do it anymore.

KING: Did he like making movies, Jerry?

LEWIS: Yes. He loved it. He loved every minute of it. But I have to tell you about "He didn't like to rehearse." I need to clarify this because sometimes that becomes a little scruffy, and I don't like that. He rehearsed when he needed to, but he did it with a wonderful governor on his funny bone.

(VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS: He would not spew it out in the rehearsal. And he would always say to me, Jer, back off. Back off. Save it. In three hours, you can do it to a faretheewell. Don't spit it out now. And he helped teach me not to give it everything in the rehearsal and leave it in the rehearsal hall. He was brilliant about where he came from and what he was doing theatrically. It was instinctive in those bones that were so brilliant.

KING: He rehearsed in his car, right? DEANA MARTIN: Yes, he did. Absolutely. In fact, I found a tape the other night where he was interviewed and he says, You know, people think I never rehearsed. And he said, I rehearsed all day on the golf course and in my car. He said that he would have the songs, and he would rehearse them.

So he's -- you know, he said why -- just like Phyllis doesn't like to go in to rehearse, Dad says, Why go into a rehearsal hall when I can be on the golf course or in my car? So he knew all the songs. He didn't know how it was all going to play out. That's when he would go down and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) would have on a little sign that says "Dean," and you know, people would -- you know, that's who you would play against. But Dad would watch the runthrough, and he could do it.

KING: A little background, Greg, of the roasts.

GARRISON: Well, the roast, of course...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: We're seeing lots of clips tonight, by the way. You're seeing many tonight.

GARRISON: The roasts, of course...

KING: We thank Greg Garrison for all the wonderful clips from the Dean Martin Show" and the "Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts." And we have clips from Matt Helm movies that we've been showing, and Martin and Lewis movies are also available, courtesy of Paramount Home Video and Columbia -- I want to get all these credits in -- Columbia Tristar Home Video.

How did the roasts start?

GARRISON: Well, the roasts, of course, were the original Friars' roasts that they did on -- you know, back in New York at the Friars Club. And I thought it might be an interesting idea to try it on the show, so we...

KING: To do it once, you mean.

GARRISON: Yes. Well, we did it. And the first guest that we did was Governor Ronald Reagan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN MARTIN: ... person is from the editor of "Playgirl" magazine. "Dear Governor Reagan, We wonder if you would consider posing nude for the centerfold of our next issue. We feel the American public would love to see a politician who has nothing to hide."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARRISON: I called him up. And I had worked with the governor, the president, of course, in the past, and I told him what we were going to do and asked him if he'd be interested. And he said, Of course. And we sent him the script. He never changed a line, never changed a word, never wanted to know what anybody wanted to do. He was only interested in what he had to say at the end. And then we started it. And then it's become...

KING: It was a riot.

GARRISON: ... a phenomenal success. The roasts are now the biggest home video sale ever. Ever. And now we're starting on the variety shows out of the 250 variety shows, we're starting to put them together. They're going out in syndication now, and they expect it to be the biggest thing that ever happened...

KING: They'll be showing again the shows?

GARRISON: It's starting now.

KING: Everybody -- anybody ever turn you down?

GARRISON: Never, ever, ever, ever.

KING: John Wayne did it.

GARRISON: John Wayne was...

KING: Orson Welles, Frank Sinatra...

GARRISON: ... Orson Welles, Sinatra -- everybody. Everybody. Phyllis was there many times.

DILLER: I was there.

KING: Many times. As we go to break...

(CROSSTALK)

GARRISON: It was like history.

KING: Yes. As we go to break, a scene from one of those roasts. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RONALD REAGAN: I am happy to be here on the "Dean Martin Show." Dean and I have a lot in common. About the same size. We both like horses, like golf. Of course, we both made a lot of movies. Only difference is, I knew when to quit. No, Dean's -- Dean's had a fabulous career. When you stop to think of it, Vaudeville, nightclubs, recordings, movies, television. And to think he won't even know it all happened to him until he sobers up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Ain't going to see that again, folks. Let's reintroduce the panel of the life and times of Dean Martin. In Las Vegas is Ricci Martin, Dean's son. In Los Angeles, Deana Martin, his daughter. In San Diego, on his boat is Jerry Lewis, half of one of the most successful teams in show business history. In Los Angeles, Nancy Sinatra, Phyllis Diller, Dom Deluise and Greg Garrison, Dean Martin's long time friend, producer, and director.

And Nancy was saying something about Dean and the wee small hours of the morning with you, helping you.

SINATRA: You were asking about why do we think he was so great and I think one of the reasons was his humanity and his generosity, a person and of spirit. And he agreed to be a guest on my TV special in 1967. It was a show called "Move In With Nancy." We tried to make it easy for him. We used music he already recorded so he had to just lip sync to it.

We started after dark, it was 8 or 9 o'clock at night. We went through until at least 3:00 in the morning. He never complained. And I think Gail, your sister, was supposed to open in a nightclub or something that night and he really wanted to be there, but he stuck to it with me. He was so, so generous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you're the reason.

SINATRA: I know. I know.

KING: He also, Greg, he had a record that broke the Beatles team, right?

GARRISON: Yes. That's right.

KING: No one thought that could be a hit, in the time of the Beatles right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wasn't it...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime."

GARRISON: You know that medley that you ran of Frank and Dean, that ran 12 minutes on the air. And what you're looking at...

KING: 12 minutes?

GARRISON: 12 minutes. And that was one take. One take, 12 minutes. They just rehearsed it with the orchestra, bing, went out, put the cameras on, gone. Two of the greatest performers to appear on a stage. KING: Jerry, I know, you are writing a book and that book will detail it. Can you give us an overview of what ended Martin and Lewis?

LEWIS: What ended it?

KING: Yes.

LEWIS: I think I tell it pretty well in the book. But the book is kind of penance on my part, because you have to know that for ten years my partner never, ever was given his due. Not only critically, but by the American public. It was Jerry this, Jerry that. Jerry did this and runs the business, Jerry's written the material. We do an opening night and they don't mention his name? Come on.

I don't know how for ten years he sustained the work ethic and his commitment to doing what he committed to do. Had tables been turned, we would have been through after the second year. I could never have handled it. To this day, I don't know how he handled it.

And of course, I started to feel this guilt. He wasn't being given, not only -- not only his bow and respect, a wonderful contribution which are not recognizing that without Dean, I would have been back doing a record act. I was only good because he was there. I was only good because he was the center piece.

This isn't false modesty. It happens to be the truth. I'm a brilliant comic when I have a partner standing there. The proof of that is is I wasn't the same when he wasn't there. Now, when you dig that deep to be that honest, people have got to listen to you. He was the most brilliant comic mind and body.

KING: So you broke it up?

LEWIS: I certainly broke it up, because it was time that he got his own. And, of course, at the time, I wanted to go on my own. And I said to him the day we discussed it. I said Dean, let's not do what Joe Lewis did. Let's not get knocked out of the ring. Let's quit while we're champs.

And we decided that was really the best thing for us. Though, we hated each other for a good year because we allowed that break, because that feeling came from another emotional place. But we did the right thing. We knew we did the right thing. For him and I and everyone involved.

KING: Ricci, what do you remember about that break up?

R. MARTIN: Well, you know, I talk about this in the show. And it's so wonderful to hear Jerry saying this, because I had my own feelings about it. And what I saw was where these two young guys thrust together and then all of a sudden being the biggest comedy team in the world. And then the powers that be surrounding them, who were making a lot of money, who want them to stay together. And these guys are growing up. And in essence, growing in different directions having different needs and wants in life. And what guts it had to have taken to do what they did. And it's so refreshing, Jerry, to hear you say this, because it really makes my heart feel good that you did talk about it. And that -- it's wonderful to hear, because I think dad and you made an unbelievable choice, a very difficult choice and look at both of your careers. It turned out to be phenomenal for the both of you.

KING: You will see it a little while with the historic time when Frank Sinatra comes on the telethon. We'll show that to you in a little while. And brings Dean back after many years of not being together with Jerry. One of the great moments in, have to be, in television history. Deana, what was your thoughts on the breakup?

DEANA MARTIN: You know, I loved Jerry. I still love Jerry. He's -- hi, Jerry.

LEWIS: Hi, honey.

DEANA MARTIN: We had a fabulous time. I had called him and went over to visit him on his boat and he was writing and he was writing frantically this story about he and dad. And I got to be there firsthand with him all these years later and see what Jerry was feeling. And for Jerry to say that, you know, that dad was this incredible talent, he was the main stay of that show, and Jerry did work around him, it's so wonderful to hear. And I know that dad's genius came through because Jerry was there. Because they gave -- they gave to each other. They were a fabulous match. I'm so sorry -- but I think they ran their course. Ten years is a long run.

KING: But still the public was shocked Phillis remember?

DILLER: Yes, they were.

KING: When they broke up it was -- remember how big a story that was?

DILLER: Yes.

DELUISE: I was like, how can they do this to me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

KING: We took it personally?

DELUISE: Yes. Right. What are they doing? Please don't breakup. It was like a marriage that working and then suddenly -- I was angry at both of them.

KING: We'll go to break. And as we do, a now famous moment on the muscular dystrophy telethon. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANK SINATRA, SINGER: I have a friend who loves what you do every year and who just wanted to come out. Will you send my friend out, please? Where is he? Bring him out here. Come here. (APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN MARTIN: What can a man do with hands like that? I quit, John.

JOHN WAYNE, ACTOR: All right. quit. Nobody's trying to strop you. If you want to quit, quit. Go on back to the bottle. Get drunk.

One thing, though. Somebody throws a dollar in this spitoon, don't expect me to do something about it. Just get down on your knees and go after it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back. Greg Garrison, did he take movie-making seriously, the Matt Helm series? He did westerns.

GARRISON: He loved working with John Wayne.

KING: He liked making films?

GARRISON: Yes. He loved making films.

He liked -- he liked the cowboys and the guys, you know, riding out in the, you know, with the cowboys and everyday he had a really good time.

DELUISE: He was brilliant in "Rio Bravo." If you see that movie, Dean Martin should have gotten an Academy Award.

KING: Angie Dickinson (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

DELUISE: It was great. I watched that movie whenever it was on. Dean Martin was brilliant.

GARRISON: I think he liked the Western the best of all.

KING: How about "Oceans Eleven," Nancy, was a heck of a movie something.

SINATRA: You know something? When they were doing those movies in Las Vegas and doing the shows at night -- their work ethic was so right on. Their discipline was absolutely perfect. They did the filming of the movies during the day. They'd go by helicopter if it was on a location shoot. They would come back, go to the steam room -- that notorious steam room at the Sands, where they threw Don Rickles out with no clothes on one night and then would do the first show and then they'd have dinner. Then they'd do the second show, then they'd hang out just, you know, casually with some of the other folks that come and see the show. And then they would get a few hour's sleep, get up the next morning and start all over again. It was amazing to watch.

KING: You didn't mind it, Phyllis, when he said on one of the roasts, Dean said, Phyllis is one of the women about whom Picasso once said...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN MARTIN: Somebody throw a drop cloth over that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DILLER: He didn't mean it. Of course not. I adored that man.

KING: Those roasts were done in pieces, right? I mean, they weren't not all together necessarily. .

GARRISON: Oh, no, no, no. For the most part they were. Every once in awhile we'd have to do a pickup with somebody from Washington.

KING: Rickles told me sometimes he did it alone.

GARRISON: Well, Rickles has a great imagination.

KING: No, but, weren't there times when...

GARRISON: A couple of times. But for the most part it just ran right straight through.

KING: With a live audience, right?

GARRISON: Always with a -- yes, 1,500 people at the MGM Hotel.

KING: Did you like doing them, Dom?

DELUISE: I loved it because I sat there -- and, you know, you were entertained. Amazing people -- Jack Benny, Jimmy Stewart, Phyllis Diller would come up and do jokes and Dean loved to be attacked and roasted as -- as Frank did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wasn't Lucy on a few of them?

DELUISE: Absolutely. They did -- you know.

KING: Jerry, why did you never do one?

LEWIS: Do what?

KING: A roast.

LEWIS: I was never asked.

KING: Was there a reason for that, do you think?

LEWIS: I think that it was good taste not to ask. Really. KING: Really?

LEWIS: Yes. It would have put -- I beg your pardon?

GARRISON: I said thank you, Jerry.

LEWIS: But I know Greg very well. He can verify what I'm saying. We all had -- those of us that loved him dearly, and those in my life that loved me, all had a very cautious move in and among the two of us when we were distant from one another.

We received all kinds of infinite care and sensitivity and Greg would have been guilty of pushing Dean in a place that could have been uncomfortable, and therefore, he never went there. When I was asked why I wasn't a part of the Rat Pack, I would say, Because I have my own Rat Pack between my editors and my cinematographers and my staff and crew. That's my Rat Pack. I lived with film.

Dean and Frank and Sammy had this wonderful thing. I didn't want to encroach on that. I wasn't envious that I wasn't in it. I was happy that he had this. And it's difficult for people to understand the joy and ecstasy an individual can have when someone they love is having all this fun. You back off and let him have it.

KING: Well said. Nancy, did they like the term Rat Pack?

SINATRA: No, no. They called what they did summit meetings, based on the Khruschev-Kennedy...

KING: Who named them the rat pack?

SINATRA: Well, from what I've heard, it was a name given to Humphrey Bogart and his pals...

LEWIS: Yes!

SINATRA: ...by Lauren Bacall.

KING: About Bogart and his friends.

SINATRA: Yes.

KING: Because when you think Rat Pack, you don't think Bogart with them.

SINATRA: No. But that's where I started, I believe.

KING: Because Frank and Bogart were very close.

SINATRA: Now Deana said Judy Garland. I heard Lauren Bacall, so I don't...

DEANA MARTIN: Well, Judy -- actually, I think they were at Judy's house. You know, and they were -- they there and I guess it was Lou Ella Parsons who had mentioned it in her news in her column, she said "and that Rat Pack over there at Judy Garland's house." You know, doing this, you know? And they're doing that.

KING: He -- admittedly, Ricci, he smoked too much, right?

R. MARTIN: Well, of course, he did. And in those days, you didn't realize what was going on as far as cigarettes were concerned.

But he did. And that was part of the image along with the drinking and, you know, the kind of drunky feel. But...

KING: And he had emphysema, did he not?

R. MARTIN: Yes. Yes, he did.

KING: Was that what killed him?

R. MARTIN: Well, I think it certainly didn't help. You know, it was respiratory failure. So that's certainly a part of it.

KING: How old was Dean when he died?

DEANA MARTIN: 76.

R. MARTIN: No -- yes, 76.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 78.

DEANA MARTIN: 78?

R. MARTIN: 78?

KING: The last days were sad, were they not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh!

KING: Everyone tells stories about Dean sitting alone in a restaurant every night. Why?

DEANA MARTIN: Well, you know, he loved...

LEWIS: That was -- that was the loss of his son.

DEANA MARTIN: Yes. I know, but you know, dad -- I know, but, you know, the thing is, dad liked being alone. You know, he had been with so many people all of his life and, you know, he didn't like to chitchat. And he was perfectly happy, you know, eating alone. But he wanted to be out where people were. So, you know, he wasn't lonely.

KING: We'll be back with our last segment. We're going to do more on this because we've just really touched it. And we'll talk about where each of them when Dean passed.

And as we go to break, a little bit of the Rat Pack at work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN MARTIN: How about mixing me just a (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Everyone hates a smart ass, Frank.

SINATRA: Yes, but everybody loves a lover though.

MARTIN: I'm with you there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. Phyllis Diller, where were you when Dean died?

DILLER: I believe I was working in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel, which built a special suite for him on the main floor, because he didn't go in elevators.

KING: Where were you, Ricci, when you dad past?

R. MARTIN: I was at my home with my wife and children in Utah. Actually, Christmas morning, of course. And I get a call from Mort a dear friend and agent for so many years, giving us the news.

KING: And Mort passed away recently himself.

R. MARTIN: Yes.

KING: Where were you, Deana?

DEANA MARTIN: I was at home. And our son called me in the morning.

KING: He was in the hospital? Did he die in the hospital?

DEANA MARTIN: Dad died at home. At 3:15 in the morning. And oddly, my grandmother, his mother, died the same time 30 years before that.

KING: Christmas day?

DEANA MARTIN: Yes. Christmas day.

KING: Where were, you Greg?

GARRISON: I live in Montana. Mort Viner called me. I was in shock. Absolute shock.

KING: Dom?

DELUISE: I was at home. I have a big family doing Christmas. I -- excuse me. I had no idea how much I loved Dean. No idea because I was so moved when it happened. I said I can't believe this.

KING: Who told you?

DELUISE: My wife said it was on the news. My point is that, you know I worked with him, I loved him. When I heard the news, it was like a family member. It was really tough.

KING: Nancy. Jerry, where were you?

LEWIS: I was in Denver doing "Damn Yankees" at the end of the U.S. tour before we went to London. I had to do a show that night. And I didn't do that show that night. I chartered a jet and flew to Los Angeles. And I don't think I'm over that night.

KING: Had you spoken to him before that?

LEWIS: God, yes.

KING: Yes?

LEWIS: Yes. Absolutely. I mean...

KING: Your friendship was renewed?

LEWIS: I never diminished. All it had was some static. That's all. But when Dino died, I knew he was finished. I knew it in my heart and my instinct told me. He had never, ever experienced anything that close in his life to be that shattering to his emotional system. I knew he'd never recover. As I wouldn't, I don't think.

KING: How did Frank take it, Nancy?

SINATRA: He was devastated. Like losing a brother. Bad. It was very bad.

KING: Yes? When legends leave us, Greg, it's not easy.

GARRISON: No. No. No, as a matter of fact, Jerry and I spoke at the services and when it was all over, I went over to Jerry and I put my arm around him. I had seen him in a long time. I said, you know, kid, I said, years from now, you and I will be missing him the most.

KING: And that's showing.

GARRISON: That's right.

KING: Dom, Frank told me one of the last things Sinatra, he said to me all his friends are going.

DILLER: Well, that's what happens when you get old.

LEWIS: Not me!

(LAUGHTER)

DILLER: Boy, Jerry. You hang in there.

KING: Jerry doesn't age.

LEWIS: I am not 9, I have got 91 more years.

GARRISON: You have got 105 more moves, kid. I never seen so many moves on a man in my life. You're OK, kid. You're all right.

LEWIS: Thanks, Greg. Thank you, Greg.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) want do you do now? Do you work? What do you do.

DEANA MARTIN: Yes. I work. I have a book coming out. Yes.

KING: On?

DEANA MARTIN: It's going to be fantastic -- on, you know, life with dad. And you know growing up with dad. So, it was an exciting, wonderful life.

DELUISE: And She sang last night at the Feast of San Gennaro.

DEANA MARTIN: Yes.

DELUISE: She sounds wonderful.

DEANA MARTIN: Yes, I sang.

KING: Ricci, of course, you perform too, right?

R. MARTIN: Yes. Yes, I do, Larry. I have got to tell you something very funny...

KING: We out of time almost, do it fast.

R. MARTIN: OK, very funny. Dad said, you know, everyone watches Larry every week. And you sit behind that desk. What people really don't know from the waist down, Larry's naked.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We want to thank Ricky Martin, Deana Martin, Jerry Lewis, Nancy Sinatra, Phyllis Diller, Dom Deluise, and Greg Garrison. We also want to thank the Columbia Tristar Home Video, Paramount Home Video, Warner Brothers and want to thank Greg Garrison for the wonderful clips from the Dean Martin and the Dean Martin Celebrity roasts. And we thank Warner Brothers, again. As we leave you, this clip from "Oceans Eleven." thanks, guys.

We'll be back tell you about tomorrow night, don't go away.

Thank you, larry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN MARTIN: Go ahead. Let me have it. When we blow this cuckoo. Day after tomorrow, gentlemen, we'll be in Las Vegas. Happy New Year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Thanks again to all our guests for sharing their memories of Dean Martin in a terrific hour. Make a note next Wednesday night we have a live interview with Elizabeth Smart's parents, Ed and Lois. They share their anguish over their daughter's abduction with us. Now they'll talk about her incredible safe return. And our good friend, Katie Couric, has an interview with Elizabeth later this week. Katie Couric special, "In Bringing Elizabeth Home," it airs on NBC. Stay toon now for more news on CNN your most trusted name in news. See you tomorrow night, good night.

END

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