Deana Martin’s dad was the King of Cool, Dean Martin.
She dated the King of Cute, Davy Jones.
She’s got a voice as golden and smooth as the Scotch in her father’s cocktail glass.
Oh, and she spent Christmases with “Uncle Frank” Sinatra, sang carols with Rosemary Clooney and learned comic timing from Jerry Lewis.
“What a lucky lady I am,” says the singer, as she looks out at the ocean from her Palm Beach hotel, where she’s preparing for her sold-out show tonight in Palm Beach Gardens.
It was luck, yes, plus the power of DNA, osmosis and amore.
That show-biz life
Flashback to 50 years ago: Here’s beautiful Deana, age 18, smack dab in the middle of 1960s Hollywood — when Dino and Frank’s Rat Pack defined cool and kids were feelin’ groovy.
Deana’s a chip off the old show-biz block, and she gets an acting gig on a TV show called “The Monkees.”
She sees Davy Jones, he sees her — and they get stars in their eyes. Literally.
She played his love interest on a Monkees episode called “Some Like it Lukewarm,” a cross-dressing caper where Deana plays a boy and Davy plays a girl to win a music contest.
“We looked alike — we were the same size, with the same haircut — and we had the same humor and personality,” she recalls. “When Davy and I met, we just hit it off.”
In the show, Davy swoons “you’re beautiful!” when he discovers Deana is a girl.
She coos: “You’re divine.”
Decades later, Deana’s husband (and her producer) John Griffeth noticed a sweet bit of trivia from that episode: As Davy enters the scene, he is humming Dean Martin’s signature song, “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.”
“This is for you, Davy”
Dean Martin loved Davy Jones, Deana remembers, because they were alike.
Both were consummate entertainers who did it all — singing, acting, joking, wooing the ladies.
They could turn on the star wattage with a snap.
Offstage, they switched it off just as quickly.
“I have two lives,” Jones used to say. “My life as a Monkee and my real life.”
For the last 15 years of his life, Jones spent much of his real life in Indiantown, where he was “just another cowboy.”
Like Davy, Dean Martin loved horses and the solitude of a golf course.
“He could entertain forever, be fabulous and be on — and then was perfectly happy to just go home and be quiet,” Deana remembers. “He’d say, ‘I like the chit, I just don’t like the chat.’”
When Davy Jones showed up at the Martin house — filled with seven kids from Dean’s two marriages — he fit in like family, playing touch football, goofing around.
“They were comfortable together,” Deana recalls of her dad and Davy.
Her romance with the teen idol was sweet, romantic and brief.
He gave her “the most beautiful” silver music box that played classical music.
She took him to the famous Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip, to hear her play with her rock band, the Chromium Plated Streamline Baby.
She was practically a baby herself, and she still laughs at the memory of filming the Monkees episode, when the director asked her to look into Davy’s eyes “as if you would soon be making love.”
“It was hysterical. I was the little Catholic girl…I wouldn’t think of something like that!” she says.
Their friendship endured.
Five years ago, she jumped onstage with Davy at a Chicago show, and he sang a tribute to her, his rendition of “My Secret Love.”
She sang “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime” to him.
A few months later, Deana sang those same songs at a New York memorial for Jones, who died of a heart attack at 66 on Feb. 29, 2012.
“My secret love’s no secret anymore,” she sang, then looked up and blew a kiss to heaven: “This is for you, Davy.”
Memories are made of this
Her show, “Deana Sings Dino,” is for the first man in her life, the guiding light she still feels around her.
“He wasn’t a good father, but he was a good man,” she wrote in her 2004 best-selling memoir, “Memories are Made of This: Dean Martin Through His Daughter’s Eyes,” which she is now making into a movie.
Martin couldn’t give his seven children what they wanted — more of his time.
“Dads weren’t hands-on in those days,” Deana says. “And he had so many things to do…so much was being asked of him.”
One of her favorite memories is her 16th birthday, when her dad asked her what she wanted.
“I wanted a coat from Wilson’s House of Suede, and I told him, ‘I want you to come down and pick it out with me,’” Deana recalls.
The real gift was his presence, the chance to feel special.
And, of course, that voice — the voice she inherited and celebrates when she sings his songs and others from the Great American Songbook.
Dean Martin would have turned 100 this year. His longtime comedy partner Jerry Lewis turns 90 in March.
Lewis wrote the foreword to Deana’s memoir.
“What makes her book terrific is that she is terrific — terrific in her ability to get on paper what is in her heart,” he wrote.
Lewis always greets Deana with “Hey, laaaaaaady!” — then he’ll put his hands on her face, look into her eyes and start to cry.
“I see my partner,” Lewis will say.
Last year, there was a lot of crying in the Martin family.
Deana’s youngest brother, Ricci, died at 62 in August. A few weeks later, Jeanne, “my beautiful stepmother,” died of cancer at 89.
Jeanne and Dean were divorced, but they never really let each other go. She mourned like a widow when Dean died on Christmas day in 1995. Neither of them ever recovered from the death of their son Dean Paul, the actor, rock star and pilot who had inherited the King of Cool’s good looks and charm with the ladies.
Dean Paul — the “Dino” of Dino, Desi and Billy fame — was killed in 1987 while piloting a Phantom fighter jet for the Air National Guard. It crashed in the San Bernardino Mountains near Los Angeles. He was 37.
Deana’s sister Claudia also died young. Breast cancer took her in 2001, when she was 56.
Music is Deana’s way of holding on to the memories.
“After Dad passed away, I just wanted to hear his voice,” she says. “I was playing his CDs and said to John, ‘I love this music. I should be doing a show with this music.’
“It’s in my DNA…the movement, the lyrics, it’s what I was trained to do from watching my dad, Uncle Frank, Uncle Sammy (Davis Jr.) and Rosemary, from having Sammy Cahn writing a song at our piano.”
Using the technique Natalie Cole used to sing duets with her late father Nat King Cole, Deana recorded a duet with her father, “True Love.”
She sings it in her show, with photographs of her father behind her.
“When I sing my father’s songs, he’s with me,” she says.
If the King of Cool could see Deana now, onstage with an 18-piece orchestra and belting out “Volare,” he’d think his daughter was pretty fabulous, too.
She and husband John — who met on a blind date on Valentine’s Day 28 years ago — divide their time between houses in Beverly Hills and Branson, Mo.
They laugh a lot. That’s a Martin trait, she says — “a great sense of humor will get you through life, let me tell you.”
That’s the Martin way, she says: Sing. Smile. Stay positive. Stay in shape. Stay current. Love what you do. Leave people happier than they were before you showed up.
Deana Martin rattles off her philosophy, then punctuates it with her melodic, Martin laugh:
“Can I be the Princess of Cool?”
Deana Sings Dino:
Celebrating Dean Martin’s 100th birthday
and Legends 100.3 FM’s third birthday
When and where: Tonight at 7:30 at the Eissey Campus Theatre at Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens. The show is sold out, but call 561-207-5900 for more information or possible cancellations.
Deana Martin’s latest album, Swing Street, and her four other albums of Dean Martin hits and other Great Songbook classics are available on her site, deanamartin.com, and at Amazon.
Her memoir, “Memories Are Made of This,” is available at deanamartin.com and at Amazon.