Ricci Martin, Dean Martin’s Youngest Son, Dead at 62

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Ricci Martin had a long running tribute show for his father (Source: RicciMartin.com)

Ricci Martin had a long running tribute show for his father (Source: RicciMartin.com)

Ricci Martin, the youngest son of the legendary singer and actor Dean Martin, died August 3, 2016, at age 62. According to multiple news reports, Martin, who was a performer himself and had recently toured with a tribute act to his late father, was found dead at his Utah home. No cause of death was revealed.

Ricci Martin was born September 20, 1953, the sixth of Martin’s eight children; his mother, Jeanne Biegger, was Dean Martin’s second wife. Ricci’s older brother, Dean “Dino” Martin Jr., who died in 1987, enjoyed brief attention in the rock world as a member of the trio Dino, Desi and Billy.

Beach Boys Sunflower

The Beach Boys’ Sunflower album

Ricci Martin first entered show business in the 1970s, working as a musician and singer. He recorded a single, “Stop, Look Around,” and then an album, Beached, in 1977, both produced by his brother-in-law, Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys—the husband of Martin’s younger sister Gina—and recorded at the group’s Brother Studios. The album included musical contributions from the group’s drummer Dennis Wilson, as well as Beach Boys associates Van Dyke Parks, Ricky Fataar and Billy Hinsche (who also served as the album’s co-producer), Chicago’s Peter Cetera, Jimmy McCullough of Wings and Gerry Beckley of America. An expanded version of Bleached was reissued in September 2015 by Real Gone Records. In another Beach Boys connection, one of Ricci’s photographs of the band was used on the cover of their album Sunflower.

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Also in the ’70s, Martin tried to break into acting, appearing in the film Just Tell Me You Love Me and an ABC special Hot Stuff, neither of which gained any traction among viewers. In the ’80s, Martin and Fataar formed a band, Main Squeeze, which later became the Ricci Martin Band. He also worked as a VJ and produced music videos.

Martin moved to Utah in 1990, where he opened a recording studio and produced artists. During that decade he also appeared with Hinsche and Desi Arnaz Jr. in Las Vegas in a revived Dino, Desi and Billy, but in his later years, Martin took to performing more in the style of his father.

Ricci Martin was well known among Hollywood hoi-polloi. His 21st birthday party, according to reports, was attended by David Bowie, Elton John, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Elizabeth Taylor. His 2002 autobiography, That’s Amore: A Son Remembers, described his life growing up in Beverly Hills as Dean Martin’s son amidst the Rat Pack and other celebrities.

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  1. Bar.
    #1 Bar. 1 August, 2018, 18:39

    I’m reading “I am Brian Wilson” and he fondly recalls the making od Ricci Martin’s album “Beached”. I was born in 1954, so I wasn’t paying enough attention to Ricci’s career, although I watched his Dad with my grandparents on TV, but I just want to say if Ricci were doing Beach NOW in 2018, I would pay attention. I really like it.

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