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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Alexander Gunther Martin: Grandson of Dean Martin


Alexander Gunther Martin

Alexander Gunther Martin has quite a pedigree.  His late father, actor Dean Paul Martin (son of the legendary singer/comedian Dean Martin), was a teen idol as a membr 1960s pop group Dino, Desi & Billy.  The quintessential golden boy, Dean Paul was an excellent athlete and tennis player.  He was also a military pilot who attended the Urban Military Academy in Brentwood, California.

Alex's mother, Olivia Hussey, is an Argentine-born actress, best known for her roles as Juliet in Franco Zefferelli's acclaimed 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet, Jessica Bradford in the 1974 Canadian horror movie, Black Christmas and Rosalie Otterbourne in Death on the Nile (1978).  She also played Mary, the mother of Jesus, in Zefferelli's 1977 television epic, Jesus of Nazareth.

Olivia Hussey and Dean Paul Martin married in Las Vegas on April 17, 1971.  Their son, Alexander Gunther, was born in Los Angeles, California on February 12, 1973. Pictured below at the 1971 wedding: of Olivia and Dean Paul are (left to right:): Jeanne Biegger Martin (Dean Martin's second wife and Dean Paul's mother), Dean Paul, Olivia and Dean.




Alex was just five years old when his parents officially divorced in 1978.  Since Olivia was busy filming movies, often overseas, the little boy stayed with his grandmother, Jeanne during much of his childhood.  In January of 1982, when Alex was less than a month away from his ninth birthday, his father married Olympic champion figure skater Dorothy Hamill in a lavish church ceremony in Beverly Hills before a slew of Hollywood celebrities (The guest list included Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy.  Dorothy Hamill, however, was not Alex's stepmother for long as she and Dean Paul divorced in 1984.

On March 21, 1987, 35-year-old Dean Paul Martin died in a military jet crash in California's San Bernardino Mountains while on active duty with the California Air National Guard.  After his passing, Morgan Mason, son of James and Pamela Mason, told People magazine that the problem with Dean Paul was that "he was too good at too many things.  He had a lot of money and he'd spend it freely.  He went through Ferraris when he was a kid.  He was terrific looking, from a famous family, and he had talent.  When you have all those things on your plate - well, it's hard to resist someone like that."

His longtime friend, Tina Sinatra (daughter of Frank), told People: "There  was nothing he felt he couldn't get."  She related a story about how Dean Paul was in a movie theatre watching Romeo and Juliet starring Olivia Hussey.  According to Tina, he pointed to Olivia on the screen and rightly predicted that he was going to marry her one day.

Despite his talents and his good looks, Dean Paul Martin was not particularly successful on television.  From 1985 to 1986, he starred as Dr. Billy Hayes, a young scientist, in a fantasy series called Misfits of Science.  The youth-oriented show followed the adventures of a team of freakish superheroes with outlandish physical abilities.  This group of misfits fought crime for a the Humanidyne Institute, a scientific think tank based in Los Angeles.  Dr. Billy Hayes, a researcher of human anomalies, was their leader.  The series was short-lived as only a pilot and 15 additional episodes were produced.  To a great extent, its swift demise can be attributed to the fact that from October to December of 1985 it competed against CBS blockbuster Dallas on Friday nights.


Cast members of  Misfits of Science

(Note: Before her rise to stardom in Friends, Courtney Cox (pictured above) appeared in Misfits of Science as Glo (real name: Gloria Dinallo, a human mutant, possibly a human/extra-terrestrial hybrid. Dean Paul Martin is standing to the right of her in the photo.  To the left of Courtney is Mark Thomas Miller as Johnny B, (real name: John Bukowski), a former rock musician who was able to generate electricity and throw balls of lightning.after he guitar short-circuited during a concert.  Standing behind is Kevin Peter Hall as scientist and human cyborg Elvin "EL" Lincoln, who has the ability to shrink in height.)

Months before his death, Dean Paul Martin made a guest appearance on the mystery/thriller TV series The Hitchhiker.  He played a character named Chris Taylor in an episode entitled "Secret Ingredient" (Season 4, Episode 12, Air Date: May 5, 1987).  His other television credits include a 1984 TV movie called Boys in Blue, a comedy/drama about police officers in which he played Officer Danny Harris and a 1984 guest appearance on The Love Boat  (Season 7, Episode 18, Air Date: January 18, 1984).  When Dean Paul was 19 years old, he was a guest on his father's variety show, The Dean Martin Show, along with friends Lucie Arnaz (daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) and Frank Sinatra, Jr.  The episode aired on January 28, 1971.

Alexamder Gunther Martin was 14 years old when his father died.  During the early 1990s, he attended acting school in London for two years, returning to Los Angeles in 1994.  Now 40 years old, the actor is best known for his role as Les in the 2001 film Josie and the Pussycats.  In 2002, he appeared in an episode of the short-lived horror/drama TV series Haunted.  In the episode, entitled "Blind Witness." (Season 1, Episode 5, Air Date: October 22, 2002), he played a character named Fritz Channing.

Ales's mother, Olivia Hussey, will turn 62 on April 17, 2013.  She has married twice more since her divorce from Dean Paul Martin.  In 1980, she wed Tokyo-born Akira Fuse, a Japanese singer and musician.  They had one child, a son, Maximillian "Max" Fuse (born 1983) before divorcing in 1989.  Fuse, now 65, was once a guest star on the Japanese superhero series called Karmen Rider Hibiki.

In 1991, Olivia married David Glen Eisley, an American rock singer and actor.  She and Eisley, former lead singer for the band Dirty White Boy, have a daughter, India Joy, born October 29, 1993, in Los Angeles.  India Eisley, now 19, is an actress who stars as Ashley Juergens in the teen television drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager on ABC Family.  The series was renewed for its fifth season on February 2, 2012.

India Eisley


END NOTES

* Jeanne Biegger Martin, Alex Martin's grandmother, married entertainer Dean Martin on September 1, 1949.  Their marrige lasted 24 years, until 1973 and produced three offspring:: Dean Paul (November 17, 1951-March 21, 1987), Ricci James (born 1953) and Gina Caroline (born December 20,1956).  Gina is the second wife and widow of Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys.  They wed in 1987 and remained married until Carl's death from lung cancer on February 6, 1998.

Carol Wilson had another connection with a member of Dean Martin's family.  His first wife, Annie Hinsche, whom he married in 1966 and divorced in 1980, is the sister of Billy Hinsche of Dean Paul Martin's 1960s band, Dino, Desi & Billy.

* Although divorced, Jeanne and Dean Martin stayed close until Dean's death on Christmas morning in 1995 at the age of 78.  Of his relationship with his famous grandfather, Alexander Gunther Martin told People magazine ("Dean's Genes." April 30, 2001, by Samantha Miller) that Dean was "mellow and casual."   As a seven-year-old, Alex sat on Dean's lap while the singer watched golf on television.   Dean's last years were extremely difficult.  He never really recovered from shock and grief over the death of his beloved son in that 1987 plane crash.  A heavy smoker, he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1993 and suffered terribly from emphysema.  During that time, Alex and Dean would frequently meet at La Famiglia, Dean's favourite restaurant in Beverly Hills.

- Joanne

3 comments:

  1. Miss Madden, nice to see an article puttin' the accent on Alexander Martin since little is printed about our Dino's beloved grandson. Know that your efforts are bein' recognized this day at ilovedinomartin.

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  2. Dean Martin was the greatest....I grew up watching him...wonderful man...

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  3. watching ocean's 11 right now, still love watching the rat-pack

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