Throughout his career, Martin made plenty of Western movies and sang Country and Western classics. The first Western movie hit the scene in 1959 in the form of Rio Bravo. Martin played the booze-loving Sheriff’s deputy alongside John Wayne, who played the role of Sheriff.
Then came Sergeants 3 in 1962, followed by a string of other films like 4 for Texas, The Sons of Katie Elder, Rough Night in Jericho, and Bandolero!
Ten Thousand Bedrooms
Dean Martin’s first film performance was in the 1957 rom-com, Ten Thousand Bedrooms. Martin plays a hotel mogul who falls in love with a young woman while he’s in Rome buying a new property. But, in order to marry her, he must first help her three older sisters get married. Unfortunately, the film was a flop.
Some reviews are pretty harsh, others empathize with the future star, saying something like, “poor guy, it’s his first time with a chance to go solo and he winds up with…this.” Luckily, he was able to turn it all around.
For the most part, Martin was used to lighthearted comedy and roles that were fairly easy to play. Well, that is until he was given his first dramatic role, playing the part of Michael Whiteacre in The Young Lions.
Other famous faces in the motion picture include Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. After filming wrapped, a budding friendship between the three had begun.
No Rehearsal Contract
Included in Martin’s film contracts was the stipulation that he didn’t have to attend rehearsals along with the rest of the cast. So, what did he do instead? Well, most of the time he went and played golf, which was one of his favorite things to do when he wasn’t working.
In 1968, he signed a $34 million contract for his show and made sure it listed the fact he wouldn’t have to show up to rehearsals. Now that’s a pretty sweet deal!
He Trained with Bruce Lee - Not Credited
Martin was a talented man who liked to explore different passions and trained for a ton of random jobs before playing a role in his films. We saw this when he played superspy, Matt Helm in a parody film series that included The Silencers, Murderers Row, The Wrecking Crew, and The Ambushers.
In order to knock out all of his martial arts moves in the role, he trained with the legendary fighter and fellow actor, Bruce Lee. In fact, Lee himself choreographed the fight scenes in the film.