Tony Martin was born as Alvin Morris in San Francisco, California  to Jewish immigrant parents. He received a saxophone as a gift from his grandmother at the age of ten. In his grammar school glee club, he became an instrumentalist and a boy soprano singer. He formed his first band, named "The Red Peppers", when he was at Oakland Technical High School, eventually joining the band of a local orchestra leader, Tom Gerun, as a reed instrument specialist, sitting alongside the future bandleader Woody Herman. He attended Saint Mary's College of California during the mid-1930s.
After college, he left Gerun's band to go to Hollywood to try his luck in films. It was at that time that he adopted the stage name, Tony Martin.
He was a featured vocalist on the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio program. On the show Gracie Allen playfully flirted with Tony, often threatening to fire him. She would say things like "Oh Tony you look so tired, why don't you rest your lips on mine." In the movies, he was first cast in a number of bit parts, including a role as a sailor in the movie Follow the Fleet (1936), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. He eventually signed with 20th Century-Fox and then Metro Goldwyn Mayer in which he starred in a number of musicals. At the same time, between 1938 and 1942, he made a number of hit records for Decca.
Martin was featured in the 1941 Marx Brothers film (their last for MGM), The Big Store. In it, he played a singer and performed Tenement Symphony, which was written by Hal Borne who became his long-time musical director.
In World War II, he first joined the United States Navy, but as a result of rumors (without any factual basis) that he had gotten an officer's commission through bribery he left the navy and joined the United States Army Air Forces. As a corporal he was assigned to Capt. Glenn Miller's band, then was promoted to technical sergeant in the Air Transport Command and stationed in India, where Brig. Gen. William H. Tunner, commanding the The Hump Airlift, put him to work as an entertainer, forming a troupe of amateur talent from the command and taking it around the various bases to perform. Though he had an outstanding record in the military, the rumors hurt his professional reputation and the major record labels refused to sign him. He eventually signed with Mercury Records, then a small independent run out of Chicago, Illinois. He cut twenty-five records in 1946 and 1947 for Mercury, including a 1946 recording of "To Each His Own" which became a million-seller. This prompted RCA Victor records to offer him a contract, which he signed in 1947 after satisfying his contract obligations to Mercury.
He appeared in many film musicals in the 1940s and 1950s. His rendition of "Lover Come Back To Me" with Joan Weldon in Deep in My Heart - based on the music of Sigmund Romberg and starring José Ferrer - was one of the highlights of that film. As of 2009, he is still doing live performances.
In 1937 he married Alice Faye, with whom he had starred in several films and in 1941 they were divorced. Martin was married to Cyd Charisse from 1948 until her death in 2008 –sixty years - one of the longest Hollywood marriages on record. They had one son together - Tony Martin Jr., born in 1950. He also adopted Charisse's son, Nicky, from her previous marriage.
- It's a Blue World (1940)
- To Each His Own (1946)
- There's No Tomorrow (1949) (based on the Italian song "'O Sole Mio")
- I Said My Pajamas (and Put on My Prayers) (1949) (duet with Fran Warren)
- Domino (1951)
- I Get Ideas (1951)
- I'll Take Manhattan (1951)
- I Hear a Rhapsody (1952)
- Here (1954)
- Walk Hand in Hand (1956)
- I'll See You in My Dreams
- Foolish Hearts (1936)
- Follow the Fleet (1936)
- The Farmer in the Dell (1936)
- Murder on a Bridle Path (1936)
- The Witness Chair (1936) (scenes deleted)
- Poor Little Rich Girl (1936)
- Back to Nature (1936)
- Sing, Baby, Sing (1936)
- Pigskin Parade (1936)
- Banjo on My Knee (1936)
- The Holy Terror (1937)
- Sing and Be Happy (1937)
- You Can't Have Everything (1937)
- Life Begins in College (1937)
- Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937)
- Sally, Irene and Mary (1938)
- Kentucky Moonshine (1938)
- Up the River (1938)
- Thanks for Everything (1938)
- Winner Take All (1939 film) (1939)
- Music in My Heart (1940)
- Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
- The Big Store (1941)
- Till the Clouds Roll By (1946)
- Casbah (1948)
- Hollywood Goes to Bat (1950) (short subject)
- Two Tickets to Broadway (1951)
- Clash by Night (1952) (Cameo)
- Here Come the Girls (1953)
- Easy to Love (1953)
- Deep in My Heart (1954)
- Hit the Deck (1955)
- Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956) (Cameo)
- Quincannon - Frontier Scout (1956)
- Let's Be Happy (1957)
- Dear Mr. Wonderful (1982)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "California births". Family Tree Legends. http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/calbirths?c=search&first=Alvin&last=Morris&spelling=Exact&4_year=&4_month=12&4_day=25&5=&7=&SubmitSearch.x=63&SubmitSearch.y=17. Retrieved 2009-10.
- ↑ Amazon.com: Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo: A History of the Marx Brothers and a Satire on the Rest of the World (A Touchstone book): Joe Adamson: Books
- Tony Martin biography on The Interlude Era site
- Tony Martin biograhy on the Oldies.com site
- Tony Martin biography on the Feinstein's site
- Tony Martin at the Internet Movie Database
- Photographs and literature
- 1954 episode of his television series at the Internet Archive
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Tony Martin (entertainer). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|