Romantic Crooner, Star of Hollywood Musicals, Dead at 98 AP
A crooner who appeared in movie musicals during a career spanning more than half a century has died, the Associated Press reports. Tony Martin, who had hit records with “I Get Ideas,” ‘’To Each His Own,” ‘’Begin the Beguine” and “There’s No Tomorrow,” was 98.
Martin’s career included success in television, film, records and nightclubs, going back to the Depression era and continuing into the 21st century. His accountant and friend Beverly Scott said today that Martin died Friday evening at his home in West Los Angeles of natural causes.
“A peer of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, Martin sang full voice in a warm baritone that carried special appeal for his female audience,” the report notes.
Gabriel Guerrero, a musician and a longtime friend of Martin’s, said Martin recently sang to him by phone. “He’s the ultimate crooner who outlasted all is contemporaries,” Guerrero said. “He has truly remained the butterscotch baritone until he was 98.”
The report notes: “Although he never became a full-fledged movie star, he was featured in 25 films, most of them made during the heyday of the Hollywood musicals. A husky 6 feet tall and dashingly handsome, he was often cast as the romantic lead.”
Martin, who grew up in San Francisco and Oakland, married two film stars, Alice Faye and Cyd Charisse, with his marriage to Charisse lasting 60 years until she died in 2008.
His first film singing role was in “Sing Baby Sing” in 1936 -- a movie that starred his future wife Faye.
“As a contract player at Twentieth Century-Fox, Martin also appeared in ‘Pigskin Parade’ (featuring young Judy Garland), ‘Banjo on My Knee’ (Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea), ‘Sing and Be Happy,’ ‘You Can’t Have Everything’ (Faye, Don Ameche), ‘Ali Baba Goes to Town’ (comedian Eddie Cantor) and ‘Sally, Irene and Mary,’” the report notes.
Moving to MGM in 1940, he tackled roles in “The Ziegfeld Girl” (James Stewart, Lana Turner, Judy Garland), “The Big Store” (the Marx Brothers), “Till the Clouds Roll By,” “Easy to Love” (Esther Williams) and “Deep in My Heart,” the piece adds.
Here’s a clip of Tony Martin and Kathryn Grayson performing an ultra-romantic duet, “Make Believe,” in the 1946 musical “Till the Clouds Roll By” -- with subtitles!