Dean Martin was more than just his singing and acting skills. The iconic entertainer was the loving father of his eight kids. Although Dean’s late children, Claudia, Dean and Ricci, are no longer around, his legacy lives on in Craig, Gail, Deana, Gina and Sasha.
The “That’s Amore” singer became a dad with his first wife, Elizabeth Anne McDonald. The couple married in 1941 and welcomed their eldest child, Craig, the next year, followed by Claudia in 1944 and Gail in 1945. Dean and Elizabeth’s fourth child, Deana, arrived in 1948, just a year before they called it quits in 1949.
That same year, the Rio Bravo actor found love with Jeanne Martin. Following their nuptials, they expanded his family with the birth of their son Dean in 1951. The “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” crooner and Jeanne also welcomed son Ricci in 1953 and daughter Gina in 1956, but they split after 24 years of marriage in 1973.
Dean’s brood grew for the final time when he walked down the aisle with Catherine Hawn. The Grammy Award winner and his third wife didn’t welcome children of their own together, but he adopted her daughter, Sasha, in the early days of their relationship.
The legendary actor was, of course, cementing his status as a Hollywood star at the time he was raising his kids, but Dean’s dedication to parenthood was unwavering. In fact, his daughter Deana said her dad preferred to be with his kids than working on set.
“Sure, he would go on the road, but not a lot, because he loved to be home,” Deana exclusively shared with Closer Weekly in December 2020. “He liked to play games and cards with us, and we would all have dinner together. He was funny and sweet and always had a smile on his face.”
In a previous interview with Closer in December 2018, the Young Billy Young actress said her famous father “loved being at home” because of her loud and comical siblings. “The house was filled with laughter,” she gushed.
But when he was traveling for his Hollywood career, Deana said she and her siblings “couldn’t wait” for him to return home. “He was just so warm, sweet, funny, and cool,” she marveled to Closer.
Dean sadly died at age 78 on Christmas Day in 1995, but there hasn’t been a day that goes by that his kids don’t think of him. “He is with me all the time,” Deana sweetly added.
It was announced in November 2021 that filmmaker Tom Donahue’s new documentary, Dean Martin: King of Cool, would premiere on Turner Classic Movies. In an interview with Palm Springs Life, Tom shed light on how much family really meant to Dean throughout his life.
“I think it’s a certain value system that valued family, and it goes back to his Italian lineage, and really, everything he did was in trying to create families, whether it was The Rat Pack, the celebrity roasts, his first family, his second family,” the director said. “He was very tight with the people that he knew and loved and very loyal to them.”
Scroll through the gallery below to learn more about Dean’s eight kids.
Dean and his first wife, Elizabeth, welcomed their eldest son, Craig, on June 29, 1942. Craig got a taste of his own Hollywood fame as he pursued a career as a producer and production manager. According to IMDb, he worked as an associate producer on The Dean Martin Show, The Juke Box Jury and A Family Thing.
As far as his personal life, Craig was married to his wife, Carole Costello before her tragic death in March 1987 following a plane crash. It’s unclear when the couple tied the knot and if they share any kids.
The Cannonball Run actor’s daughter Claudia arrived on March 16, 1944. Like her older brother and dad, Claudia also worked in Hollywood and is best known for her roles in Ski Fever, For Those Who Think Young and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.
Claudia said “I do” three times throughout her life. She was married to her first husband, Kiel Martin, from 1969 to 1971, second spouse Vincent Lucchesi from 1973 to 1974, and her third husband, Jim Roberts, from 1996 to 2001. During her marriage with Kiel, she became the mom of her son, Jesse Martin.
Sadly, Claudia died at age 56 in February 2001.
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Barbara Gail Martin
Gail was born on April 11, 1945. Although she didn’t act much, Dean’s third daughter made many appearances throughout the years, including on The Hollywood Palace, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Pat Boone in Hollywood and more.
According to reports, Gail tied the knot in 1968, but it’s unclear who she married. As far as other personal information, there’s not much out there about Gail.
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Dean and his first wife welcomed their daughter Deana on August 19, 1948. Deana was also bit by the performing bug, having appeared in films like Strangers at Sunrise, Davi’s Way, Young Billy Young and more. Like her dad, she is also a singer.
In terms of her romantic life, Deana married her longtime husband, John Griffeth, over 30 years ago. John served as the producer on Deana’s first album, Memories Are Made of This, released in 2006. Included on the album is a duet with the late Jerry Lewis, Dean’s former duet partner. Deana also covered some of her father’s most famous songs and songs written by her mother.
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Dean Paul Martin
Dean Paul was the first of the actor’s children with his second wife, Jeanne. Dean and the blonde beauty welcomed their child on November 17, 1951.
Considering he is the son of a Hollywood icon, it’s no surprise Dean became a singer and actor. He was also a member of the California Air National Guard. He died at age 35 in March 1987 after a heartbreaking plane crash during a military training flight.
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Dean’s son Ricci arrived on September 20, 1953. Ricci was a talented singer and songwriter throughout his career. In the early days, he established a band called The Pack. He also released an album in collaboration with The Beach Boys member Carl Wilson titled Beached in 1977.
Ricci found great success as a star, but he sadly died at age 62 in August 2016. Multiple outlets reported Ricci was found dead at his Utah home, but no cause of death was ever revealed.
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The “King of Cool” welcomed his daughter Gina on December 20, 1956. Throughout the years, Gina worked as a singer alongside her famous family members.
Music was also huge in Gina’s life due to the fact that she was married to The Beach Boys cofounder Carl Wilson. The couple exchanged vows in 1987 and were together up until the musician’s death in 1998.
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Dean became the loving dad of his daughter, Sasha, through his union with his third spouse, Catherine. After the pair tied the knot in 1973, Dean adopted Sasha, according to reports.
Sasha followed in her dad’s showbiz footsteps as she’s acted in films including Private Parts and Guiding Light.