Dean Martin: King of Cool—Broadcast Premiere on TCM
Dean Martin was one of the most iconic entertainers of the 20th Century. Along with Jerry Lewis, he was one half of Martin and Lewis—the number one comedy act in America from 1946-1956. He was a chart-topping singer who recorded more than 30 studio albums and 100 songs. Indeed, his signature tune, “Everybody Loves Somebody,” knocked the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” off number one in the United States in 1964. He was a Las Vegas headliner and member of the famous Rat Pack. He acted in 60+ films and had a 12-year run on television starring in the award-winning The Dean Martin show. Over his 50-year career in show business, everybody knew Dean Martin.
Or did they?
On Friday, November 19 TCM will present the U.S. broadcast premiere of the documentary Dean Martin: King of Cool. King of Cool dives deep into Martin’s life through never-before-seen archival footage including from his time with Jerry Lewis, his movies and his TV variety show and infamous celebrity roasts. The film includes interviews with friends and collaborators such as Florence Henderson, Norman Lear, Angie Dickinson, Bob Newhart, and Carol Burnett who recount what it was like to work with Dean Martin. Daughter Deana Martin recalls family life with her mother and stepmother, father and seven siblings. And modern-day admirers like RZA and Jon Hamm comment on the legendary performer. Throughout, the film seeks to understand why so little is truly known about Dean Martin.
Dean Martin was cool. But the documentary shows that he was also mysterious and aloof. He had an outgoing performing persona but in life was a very private man. A member of the Rat Pack of powerful entertainers, Dean was infinitely gregarious on stage yet not social in his private life. As the documentary explores, even to his closest friends and family, he was an enigma.
Of the documentary project director Tom Donahue says, “What an incredible, joyous labor of love it has been to tell the story of one of the 20th Century’s greatest entertainers. The more I learned, the greater and deeper my appreciation and affection for this man became.”
Whether existing Dean Martin fans or not, viewers will certainly gain a greater appreciation for his incredible talent in King of Cool. “As a huge Dean Martin fan, I was so honored to be part of this amazing team led by Tom Donahue and Ilan Arboleda to tell the story of one of the greatest talents of the 20th century,” notes executive producer Danny Strong. “Dean is an icon, a legend and a mystery. By telling his story we hope to shed some light on that mystery and to keep his legend living on.”
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TCM’s full lineup of Dean Martin programming includes:
Friday, November 19
8:00 p.m. King of Cool (2021) – Documentary telling the story of actor and singer Dean Martin through film clips, photographs and interviews with family, friends, and colleagues.
9:30 p.m. The Caddy (1953) – A master golfer suffering from performance anxiety caddies for a man he’s taught everything.
11:15 p.m. Rio Bravo (1959) – A sheriff enlists a drunk, a kid and an old man to help him fight off a ruthless cattle baron.
Friday, November 26
8:00 p.m. Ocean’s 11 (1960) – A group of friends plot to rob a Las Vegas casino.
10:15 p.m. Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964) – A Chicago gangster stumbles into philanthropic work during a gang war.
12:30 a.m. King of Cool (2021) – Second showing of the new about Dean Martin.
*All times Eastern