Hollywood lost one of its most suave and handsome musical stars when Tony Martin died on Friday in Los Angeles. Martin’s death was announced today by his business manager.
In a career that spanned over 70 years, Martin was a star of nightclubs, radio, television and films. In 2008, Stephen Holden of the New York Times called him “his generation’s Last Man Standing.”
Martin was born Alvin Morris in San Francisco and began his long career in the late 20s, starting his first band at Oakland Technical High School. He later dropped out of college to pursue his showbiz career fulltime.
The aspiring singer then tried his chances in Hollywood, acquired a new name and made the ladies swoon with his dark good looks and smooth vocal style. After making his film debut in the 1936 musical “Follow the Fleet,” Martin went on to star in “Ziegfeld Girl,” “Here Come the Girls” and “Hit the Deck.”
Concurrent with Martin’s film career was his performing on radio and television, including a TV variety series in the 50s. He recorded for several labels and had hits including “Begin the Beguine” and “I Get Ideas.”
After a short marriage to Alice Faye in the late 30s, Martin wed dancer/actress Cyd Charisse in 1948, a marriage that would last 60 years, until her death in 2008.
Tony Martin will be remembered as a handsome, elegantly dressed gentleman with one of the silkiest voices of his generation.