DINO by Nick Tosches


Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams
Email this review


 Flamboyantly overwritten, saddest celebrity bio of the past decade. Dino Crocetti--Steubenville, Ohio, son of Italian immigrants, and an easygoing, untrained singer with lip-lazy diction--became Dean Martin early in his work with local bands, made it big in Manhattan as a solo act, and went over the top when teamed with a monkey named Jerry Lewis. The keynote of Martin's delivery, explains Tosches (Cut Numbers, 1988, etc.), was a relaxedness directed toward males but that had the ladies following him to bed like groupie mayflies--while he attracted Mafia heavy-hitters as well. Martin's pal Frank Sinatra held him in awe and envied his ease with the Mafia cafe-owners, but Dino couldn't care less about power, or much of anything. He kept Sinatra, as well as his own wives and children--everyone in fact--at arm's length emotionally, and, Tosches indicates, never in his life let one person into his most secret heart. He seemed largely devoted to golf. Gradually, Martin, at first a moderate drinker, developed a drunk act that became too real and at last took him over. After many years as the top draw on TV, he wound up hosting his celebrity roasts, a kind of gathering of the dead assembled from thousands of small splices of film. Martin is still alive, but a shadow in a breeze, withdrawn into watching westerns on TV. Tosches tells his story in a Niagara of grossness that at once strives for literary excellence while often falling into garble: ``The very songs that Sinatra and Dean sang...inspired lavish squandering among the countless men who would be them. It was the Jew-roll around the prick that rendered them ithyphallic godkins, simulacra of the great ones, in their own eyes and in the eyes of the tease-haired lobster-slurping bimbo sapiens they sought to impress.'' One-hundred-proof prose at its most scorching, and it will melt cash registers. (Thirty b&w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-385-26216-7
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1992


FictionUNDER TIBERIUS by Nick Tosches
by Nick Tosches
FictionME AND THE DEVIL by Nick Tosches
by Nick Tosches
NonfictionKING OF THE JEWS by Nick Tosches
by Nick Tosches