FROM A SWEET 16 GIFT TO WONDER BREAD WITH BUTTER — MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS
The Rat Pack icon’s daughter Deana Martin shares warm memories of her legendary dad.
do it all, and he was
so sweet — that was
— Deana Martin, to Closer
Deana Martin remembers her 16th birthday in 1964 like it was yesterday. “Dad went with me to get a coat at Wilsons House of Suede in LA, and he sat there while I went through fabric after fabric and even buttons,” she recalled to Closer at the recent Friars Club Honors Billy Crystal event in NYC. “He sat there looking at me like, ‘Can I go yet?’ But he stayed. And he left his golf game to be with me!”
There weren’t too many things the Rat Pack legend loved more than golf, but seven of them were his children. “You had to be a little bit louder or funnier than your brothers and your sisters,” Deana, now 70, says. “The house was filled with laughter, and he loved being at home.”
And every time he got there, he had a favorite snack. “He would get a piece of Wonder Bread and put butter on it,” Deana shares. “We couldn’t wait for him to get home. He was just so warm, sweet, funny and cool.”
THAT’S AMORE! In fact, Dean was given the nickname the King of Cool by one of his biggest fans: Elvis Presley! “Elvis once leaned down and ‘Deana, I love your father — they call me the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, but he’s the King of Cool,’ ” she marvels. “I wanted to faint!”
Although he died of lung cancer at 78 on Christmas Day in 1995, Dean will never be forgotten by his friends, family members — or fans. “Every show I do, people come up and say, ‘I’m your dad’s biggest fan,’ ” says Deana, who has followed in her father’s footsteps by becoming a singer. “I’ve never heard a negative thing about my dad, and I meet hundreds of people. Everybody wanted to be with him.”
— Bruce Fretts, with reporting by Lexi Ciccone
“Dad made everybody feel comfortable,” says Deana, with her father in 1965. Dean takes a break during a recording session in LA in 1958.