Part 2 of two-part interview with Deana Martin.
Deana Martin's real life story is like one written by a screenwriter with many incredible elements. Daughter of Dean Martin, she grew up around people like Cher and Liza Minnelli. Met Elvis and The Beatles and had Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. as uncles.
Today she is a star in her own right whose resume includes acting in feature films, on television and stage, and success as a recording artist. She is also a New York Times best-selling author. A resident of Beverly Hills, Deana was kind enough to sit down and chat with me at Cafe Un Deux Trois in New York recently when she visited the East Coast.
Rodeo: You have had interesting experiences with celebrities before they were famous… Jeff Bridges, your teenage dancing partner; Steve Martin, your date on The Dating Game; and George Hamilton, a fellow cast member with the touring production of Neil Simon's “The Star Spangled Girl.” Can you describe each in one word?
Deana: Jeff Bridges: unbelievable. He was so funny. We danced together. He was just great, so that was very special. Steve Martin, my one word would be magic. When I heard him his sense of humor and mine was like the same. He was so funny. How lucky was I to pick the right one? We went to Italy together that was our dream date and he was hysterical and it was fabulous. Now working with George Hamilton, he was spectacular. It was his first play so he had never been on stage before and he was in a lot of movies. I grew up in the theater so I knew you have to learn the whole play, everybody's lines, in case they don't remember their lines. He learned so much. He was so cute and fun and willing to learn. He was spectacular, still a friend to this day.
Rodeo: Your television debut was with Davy Jones on an episode of The Monkees. What was it like to be part of the show and did you realize at the time that it would go on to develop such a following?
Deana: It was fabulous to be on that show and Davy Jones was so cute because we're like the same height. He was so cute and he had that hair. He was a doll but I did not know that The Monkees were going to be The Monkees like they did. The impact that The Monkees had on the world was fantastic, and at that time I had no idea but I knew that Davy Jones would become the ‘it’ guy. He was just so sweet and funny and my Dad and he had the same sense of humor. My Dad loved him.
Rodeo: “Young Billy Young” with Robert Mitchum and David Carradine was one of your first films. How did you approach working with established talents like that early in your career?
Deana: It was scary but I studied at Dartington College Of Arts in England, so I knew I could act, and was good at it but it was a little intimidating being with Robert Mitchum and David Carradine. Bobby Walker Jr. was also in that. My dad taught me to learn your lines, go out there and do what you're supposed to do, don't be a jerk, make sure that you're a nice person. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Stand on your mark and just do it and don't embarrass me. Scary but a learning experience and I've learned from every bit of work that I've done. Learn your craft, do the best you can, and take any opportunity you can and this was in the days when there wasn't social media. You just couldn't go on You Tube, you had to work for it. If you work hard and you're good at it you'll be fine.
Kid reviewer Rodeo Marie Hanson, age 13, Fleetwood, contributes entertainment columns to Berks-Mont Newspapers.