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Tony Martin


It's rare and remarkable that an entertainer can successfully transcend the entertainment gamut from the concert stage, recordings, motion pictures, television, radio and Broadway. In a career that has spanned over 60 years, the legendary Tony Martin has done just that, having gained worldwide popularity and recognition as a multi-talented, multi-faceted singer, actor, entertainer and recording artist. Recipient of the 1992 Society of Singers' coveted "ELLA" Lifetime Achievement Award, Martin follows an exclusive group of other legendary artists upon whom this special award has been bestowed, including Ella Fitzgerald (in whose honor the award was named), Frank Sinatra, and Peggy Lee. In an all-star gala salute in the International ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Martin was honored in true Hollywood style. Stars, friends, family, as well as pillars of the entertainment, philanthropic and social communities gathered in force to raise their glasses in recognition of the entertainer's landmark achievements. Greetings to Martin were received from dignitaries everywhere. Known to millions of fans around the world, Martin is one of the only entertainers to have four "stars" on Hollywood's legendary "Walk of Fame" for his heralded work in motion pictures, television, radio and recordings...another show business first, and a true testament to Martin's career! Martin's global reputation as an entertainer has made its mark in show business history, as one of the top headline singers and recording artists of all time, holding one of the industry's largest collection of gold records. Some of Martin's top sellers of all time include such classic hits as "I Get Ideas," "To Each His Own," "There's No Tomorrow," and "Begin the Beguine." Popularly referred to as "the last of the note holders," Martin currently records with the Audio Fidelity label. As an actor, Martin also appeared in more than 20 classic Hollywood films, including "Casbah," "Show Boat," "Til the Clouds Roll By," "Here Come the Girls," "Easy to Love," and "Hit the Deck." He became a household television name to millions of viewers in as the star of his own hit variety series, "The Tony Martin Show," in the 1950's. If that weren't enough, Martin became the buzz of the radio airwaves, leading his own orchestra on a two-and-a-half hour popular radio show every Saturday night. He diversified his radio popularity by playing Grade Allen's boyfriend on "The Burns and Allen Show." Martin fondly recalls his beginnings in Oakland, California, born on Christmas Day as Alvin Morris. He started singing at his mother's sewing club as a young boy, and began mastering a number of musical instruments, including saxophone and clarinet. He eventually formed his own dance band and began playing various gigs professionally. They say timing is everything. And it certainly held true that serendipitous night when a Hollywood agent heard Tony Martin singing on a late night musical show and offered him a chance to try his luck in Hollywood. Martin had the look, the voice, and the charisma to make it in "Tinseltown" and quickly landed a movie contract with RKO Studios. He subsequently found himself with contracts at 20th Century Fox and MGM Studios. Martin recalls, "I came down from college, I got put in a movie, and they paid me $75 a week! My very first picture was "Ali Baba Goes to Town" with Eddie Cantor and Gypsy Rose Lee." Martin's early years brought new life to the rising star, as well as a new name. 'Tony" came from the name of a gambler in a story in Liberty Magazine (the People Magazine of the day), and "Martin" came from the name of the bandleader, Freddie Martin. He was married briefly to singer/actress Alice Faye, and went on to serve in the armed forces during World War II (as Martin put it, "my biggest production"). After serving two years in China, Burma and India and being honored with the Bronze Star and Presidential Citation, Martin served on the committee for John F. Kennedy's "People to People" Sports Program. Martin promoted health and fitness, and to this day, he walks five miles a day, plays golf and can give most a run for their money on the 4-wall handball courts. He is also an avid sports fan. A major box-office star himself, Martin worked with some of Hollywood's most gifted names such as the likes of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, Judy Garland, Heddy Lamar, Lana Turner (to name a just a few!), as well as the great bandleaders like Glenn Miller and Ray McKinley. At the beginning, Martin did consistently well and enjoyed a salary of $200 a week at 20th Century Fox. He maintained a room that he rented for $9 a week, and owned two suits that went with him to every party and event. Great timing always followed Martin. Two of the singer's major hits included "Begin the Beguine," which was originally intended for Bing Crosby who was on tour and unavailable, and "There's No Tomorrow," which Perry Como opted not to record. It was this kind of fortune that took Martin to the heights of stardom as a headline performer around the world. He broke attendance records regionally, nationally, and internationally, and became a star for all seasons. Martin currently continues to perform on tour, is still recording popular-selling record albums, and remains married to love of his life, the elegant Cyd Charisse, whom he married in 1948. Martin also stays very involved in charitable causes, including "The Society of Singers" (SOS), in which he serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors. Helping professional singers in need is the premise behind SOS, and it has made great strides on a national level. He also does performances for other charitable organizations as well. To this day, Tony Martin has become one of the true household entertainment legends, in a class all his own, and in the ranks of the real superstars! It's this kind of history, longevity, commitment, talent, and charisma that make for the greatest of careers and a name that will always be associated with the true meaning of "ENTERTAINMENT!"