In the early- to mid-1960s, Dean Martin emerged as one of the most popular entertainers on the planet. He starred in major films, knocked the Beatles off the top of the charts with what would become his trademark tune, “Everybody Loves Somebody,” defined a new genre of cool with Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack, and captained his own long-running TV variety show. He did all of it with the air of a man who had just woken from a nap and was still charmingly groggy.
In 1958 when the pictures in this gallery were made, Dino—while famous as one-half of the Martin & Lewis comedy duo—had not yet crossed over into superstardom. But he was certainly enough of a draw that LIFE magazine devoted a photo-filled seven-page feature to the man they dubbed “Make-a-Million Martin.”
[To] his skillfully used musical and comedy talents, he adds an ebullience that pervades everything he does. . . . Uninhibited, spry of mind and muscle, he maintains a state of relaxation that “makes Perry Como look like a nervous wreck.”
Keeping carefree appears to be the common denominator of the many Martins — showman, businessman, prankster, family man, self-styled hell-raiser and Hollywood social lion. In each role he works hard at making hard work look easy.