Late crooner Dean Martin had a swinging playboy swagger as a member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack. But he was married for most of his adult life, having three wives back to back between 1941 and 1973.
Dean became a first-time husband in 1941, when he married Elizabeth Anne “Betty” McDonald. Together, the couple had four children. A year after they wed, Dean and Betty welcomed son Craig in 1941. Two years later in 1944, the couple had their first daughter, Claudia. In 1945, their second daughter, Gail, arrived and they rounded out their family with third daughter, Deana, in 1948.
A year after Deana’s birth, Dean and Betty divorced, and the crooner-turned-actor was given custody of their four children. That same year — 1949 — Dean’s career with his comedic partner, Jerry Lewis, took off, as they debuted their own radio show and signed a lucrative film deal with Paramount Pictures.
Dean wasted no time in marrying again. He met beauty queen Dorothy Jean “Jeanne” Biegger in Miami in 1948 when she attended a Martin and Lewis show. Upon his divorce from Betty being finalized, he wed Jeanne on September 1, 1949, in Beverly Hills, and Jerry served as Dean’s best man.
The “Volare” singer and the former Orange Bowl queen were wed for over two decades, the longest Dean’s three marriages. Their union made him a father of seven, as he and Jeanne had three children: Dean Paul Martin Jr., born in 1951, another son, Ricci, born in 1953 and a daughter Gina, who came along in 1956.
Dean used his status as a father to so many children as a source of jokes in his comedic act. His most famous was, “I’ve got seven kids. The three words you hear most around my house are ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye’ and ‘I’m pregnant.’”
The “That’s Amore” singer and Jeanne didn’t make it to their silver wedding anniversary, splitting up in 1973 after 24 years together. It was Dean who filed for divorce, and once again a classic quote came out of the situation, as he revealed, “I know it’s the gentlemanly thing to let the wife file. But then, everybody knows I’m no gentleman.”
Once again, Dean wasted no time in remarrying, tying the knot with Beverly Hills salon receptionist Catherine Hawn in 1973, the same year he divorced Jeanne. They met after being set up by one of Dean’s family friends. The pair had an extravagant wedding, with plenty of Dean’s A-list pals including Sinatra in attendance.
Their marriage didn’t pass the test of time though, as the Las Vegas legend filed for divorce three years later in 1976. While the marriage didn’t produce children like his previous ones, Dean adopted Catherine’s daughter, Sasha.
The singing and acting icon decided he was three and done when it came to marriages, as he never wed again in the final 19 years of his life following his split from Catherine. However, he and Jeanne reconciled as a couple after his third divorce. The “Sway” singer died from complications of lung cancer on Christmas Day, 1995.
Scroll down for photos of Dean with his ex-wives.
Dean Martin and Betty McDonald
Dean and Betty were married from 1941 through 1949, the same year the above photo of Dean was taken. The couple wed in Cleveland, Ohio, and lived in an apartment in the Cleveland Heights section early in their marriage. They had four children together, a boy and three girls, before splitting after eight years. Dean gained custody of their kids, and Betty moved to the San Francisco area upon their divorce. She died in 1989.
Dean Martin and Jeanne Biegger
The glamorous life! Dean and second wife Jeanne were married from 1949 through 1973. It was during this time that the crooner-actor’s career went into the stratosphere, as a singer, actor and a popular Las Vegas act. Dean was also a member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack. But despite his hectic lifestyle, Dean was still devoted to the pair’s three children, Dean Jr., Ricci and Sasha. Dean and Jeanne are seen together in this photo with Debbie Reynolds and her then-husband Eddie Fisher at the 1957 Beverly Hills premiere of the film Raintree County. Jeanne died in August 2016 at her Beverly Hills home after a cancer battle.
Dean Martin and Catherine Hawn
Dean and Catherine began seeing each other in the early 1970s, when he was still legally married to wife Jeanne. After divorcing her in 1973, he immediately married Catherine. The “Silver Bells” singer adopted her daughter, Sasha, but divorced Catherine in 1976. Her last public appearance was at Dean’s 1995 funeral.