As Dean Martin started his solo career after his partnership with Jerry Lewis ended, he wanted to be known as a serious actor. Though when we all think of Dean Martin, we usually think of his humor and charm, he wanted to be able to make it in the world of serious acting, not just slapstick comedy.
The beginning of Dean’s comeback was marked by his role in the 1958 film The Young Lions, also starring Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. The movie did well and did wonders for the beginning of Dean’s serious acting career.
After this film, he starred in his very first film with Frank Sinatra: the acclaimed 1958 drama Some Came Running. The movie also starred Shirley Maclaine, and perhaps even more than being a great movie and very successful, it brought Martin and Sinatra together. They had met before, but this was their first time working together. I’m not sure how historically accurate this is, but in my own opinion, this is the moment that started it all. Frank and Dean became very good friends with each other (and also Shirley Maclaine who became the only female member of the Rat Pack) and everything took off from there.
By the mid 1960’s, Dean was on fire. Making movies and singing, he’d really made a name for himself and he’d done a terrific job. But this is where I bring our section of narrative on Dean a little bit more together with Frank. Some sources say that Frank considered Dean his best friend, and I love that.
Though the Rat Pack was never any sort of official partnership, Frank and Dean (and the others, of course) continued to sing and act together. And boy, did the crowds come running!
When you hear the names of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, rarely do you ever think of a time other than when the Rat Pack was at it’s peak. They made history with song and movies, but also played much more of an integral role in each other’s lives than I think any of us will ever know.