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Dean Martin's 8 Children: All About His Sons and Daughters

Get to know Dean Martin’s eight children: Craig, Claudia, Gail, Deana, Dean Paul, Ricci, Gina and Sasha

Martin Mills/Getty Dean Martin with his wife Jeanne and children (Gail, Craig, Claudia, Deana, Gina, Ricci and Dean Paul) pose for a family portrait in 1966 in Los Angeles, California
Martin Mills/Getty Dean Martin with his wife Jeanne and children (Gail, Craig, Claudia, Deana, Gina, Ricci and Dean Paul) pose for a family portrait in 1966 in Los Angeles, California

Dean Martin was a legendary talent — he rose to fame as part of a comedy duo with Jerry Lewis, left his mark on the world of television with The Dean Martin Show, recorded countless hits and starred in more than 50 movies throughout his decades-long career.

He was also a member of the famous Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and others, which gained him a reputation as an irresponsible party-goer. But that on-screen and onstage persona was nothing more than a gimmick, according to his children.

"He is not as out-to-lunch as his image makes him. The truth is that he is very complex. If he drank as much as everyone says he does, he would be dead," his son Dean Paul told PEOPLE in 1978. Rather, in real life, his children have said Dean was a dedicated father — reportedly making it home for dinner every night at 6 p.m. when the kids were young.

Dean's eight children came from three different marriages. He had a son, Craig, and daughters Claudia, Gail and Deana with his first wife, Betty McDonald. They divorced in 1949, and Dean married a model named Jeanne Biegger (later known as Jeanne Martin) the same year. The couple, who were married for 24 years, had three children together: sons Dean Paul and Ricci, and a daughter named Gina.

The crooner's third and final marriage was to Catherine Hawn; he adopted her daughter Sasha after their wedding in 1973. The singer died on Christmas Day in 1995 from respiratory failure — but his legacy lives on through his iconic work and his large family.

Here's everything to know about Dean Martin's eight children, Craig, Claudia, Gail, Deana, Dean Paul, Ricci, Gina and Sasha.

Craig Martin, 81

Deanna Martin Instagram Dean Martin and his son Craig Martin
Deanna Martin Instagram Dean Martin and his son Craig Martin

Dean's first child from his marriage to McDonald was a son named Craig, born June 29, 1942. Craig's early childhood was lived mainly out of the spotlight save for his parent's divorce in 1949 when he was around 7 years old. His father gained sole custody of Craig and his three siblings, who were raised by Dean's second wife, Jeanne, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Craig followed his father's footsteps into the entertainment industry, working as a television producer. He began his career in the late 1960s as a production coordinator on The Dean Martin Show. Craig is credited with working as a production supervisor and associate producer on the variety show as well as working as an associate producer in the late 1970s on the show Sha Na Na.

Through his work in television, Craig met Carole Costello — the daughter of another famous entertainer, Lou Costello. They were eventually married and remained together until Costello's death in March 1987 at the age of 48. She died of a stroke, just eight days after Craig lost his younger brother Dean Paul in a plane crash, per the Los Angeles Times.

Since those tragedies, Craig has lived a life of privacy. His sister Deana posted on X (formerly Twitter) in June 2022 to pay tribute to the eldest of the Martin clan. "Happy 80th birthday to my sweet brother Craig," she wrote, alongside an old image of the family.

Claudia Martin

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection Claudia Martin , Dean Martin's daughter attends the Wedding of Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection Claudia Martin , Dean Martin's daughter attends the Wedding of Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dean's eldest daughter, Claudia, was born on March 16, 1944.

As a child, Claudia was also bitten by the entertainment bug. She made her big screen debut in the 1956 film Hollywood or Bust, and later appeared in For Those Who Think Young, The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini and Ski Fever. Claudia also had roles on the television shows My Three Sons and The Donna Reed Show.

The actress married fellow performer Kiel Martin in 1969 and the couple had one child together, a daughter named Jesse. Following their divorce in 1971, Claudia was married three more times: to actor Vincent Lucchesi, Thomas Brown and lastly, Jim Roberts. She and Roberts moved to Reno, Nevada, where they opened a printing business together.

Claudia remained in Reno until her death in February 2001 from breast cancer — she was 56 years old.

Gail Martin Downey, 79

Martin Mills/Getty Dean Martin (1917-1995) performs with his daughter Gail Martin on the set of 'The Dean Martin Show' Christmas special in 1967 in Los Angeles, California
Martin Mills/Getty Dean Martin (1917-1995) performs with his daughter Gail Martin on the set of 'The Dean Martin Show' Christmas special in 1967 in Los Angeles, California

Dean and McDonald welcomed their third child, a daughter named Barbara Gail, on April 11, 1945. Gail — who goes by her middle name — has shared several recollections of what it was like being a part of such a large, famous family.

Growing up, Gail's best friend was Liza Minnelli, she babysat for a young Jamie Lee Curtis and she knew Frank Sinatra as her "uncle." Gail told Vanity Fair in 2009, "Somebody asked me a long time ago, 'So what's it like to be Dean Martin's daughter?' You want to say, finally, 'Compared to what?' I always was, you know?"

Dean's second-born daughter also took her turn in the entertainment industry as a singer, opening for her father's Las Vegas performances and touring around the country. But Gail abandoned her singing career early on to get married and raise a family. In 1968, at the age of 23, she married 42-year-old attorney Paul Polena in her parents' backyard in Beverly Hills. The couple had two daughters, named Cappy and Liza, according to her brother Ricci's book, That's Amore.

Gail and Polena eventually divorced, and she remarried newspaper columnist Mike Downey in Las Vegas in July 1999, per the Los Angeles Times. The pair reside in Rancho Mirage, California.

Deana Martin, 75

Michael Tullberg/Getty Deana Martin (daughter of the late Dean Martin) arrives at the CD release party for her new album "Volare", held at the Capitol Records building on September 9, 2009 in Hollywood, California
Michael Tullberg/Getty Deana Martin (daughter of the late Dean Martin) arrives at the CD release party for her new album "Volare", held at the Capitol Records building on September 9, 2009 in Hollywood, California

Dean's fourth and final child with McDonald was a daughter named Deana, born Aug. 19, 1948. In 2019, Deana told Fox News that her dad missed her birth because he was in Los Angeles performing with Lewis at the famed nightclub Slapsie Maxie's.

The constant presence of Hollywood stars in her life — particularly Rat Pack members Sinatra and Davis Jr. — inspired Deana to pursue an entertainment career herself. "Growing up, I was given tap, ballet and piano lessons. I guess performing was just in my genes. And, to tell you the truth, I think all the Martins are kind of hams," Deana told the Northeast Times in 2014.

She began by frequently performing on her father's variety show in the late 1960s, moving on to theater work and appearing in films including 1969's Young Billy Young and Strangers at Sunrise then Paesano: A Voice in the Night in 1975. Deana has also had an accomplished singing career, recording five albums between 2006 and 2016.

<p>Martin Mills/Getty </p> Dean Martin and daughter Deana share the stage with Frank Sinatra and his daughter Tina circa 1960's.

Martin Mills/Getty

Dean Martin and daughter Deana share the stage with Frank Sinatra and his daughter Tina circa 1960's.

Throughout Deana's career, she's frequently paid tribute to her iconic father. Her first album, Memories Are Made of This, featured covers of several of Dean's most famous songs, including "Everybody Loves Somebody" and "That's Amore." She celebrated what would have been her father's 100th birthday with a show called Deana Sings Dino, which showcased her performing his hit music in Las Vegas and his hometown of Steubenville, Ohio. Deana also published a New York Times best-selling book in 2004 called Memories Are Made of This: Dean Martin Through His Daughter's Eyes.

"I have to recognize what Dean Martin did for the world, the joy he brought to everyone," she told the Los Angeles Times in 2017.

In her personal life, Deana wed film and music producer John Griffeth in 1990 after meeting on a blind date the year prior. The couple renewed their vows on their 25th wedding anniversary in 2015.

Dean Paul Martin Jr.

Reed Saxon/IMAGES/Getty Dean Paul Martin Jr. circa 1977
Reed Saxon/IMAGES/Getty Dean Paul Martin Jr. circa 1977

The first child from Dean's marriage to Jeanne was a son named Dean Paul Martin Jr., born Nov. 17, 1951. It didn't take long for Dino Jr. (as he was called growing up) to earn himself a reputation as a "golden boy."

"The problem with Dean is that he was too good at too many things," his friend Morgan Mason told PEOPLE in 1987.

Those things included tennis (he played as a child, at the University of Los Angeles and was ranked as a professional), singing (he had a rock band called Dino, Desi & Billy with friends Desi Arnaz Jr. and Billy Hinsche) and acting (he received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in the 1979 movie Players).

<p>Martin Mills/Getty</p> Craig Martin, Claudia Martin, Gail Martin, Dean-Paul Martin, Jeanne Martin, Gina Martin, Ricci Martin, Dean Martin, and Deana Martin pose for a family portrait circa 1966 at their home in Los Angeles, California.

Martin Mills/Getty

Craig Martin, Claudia Martin, Gail Martin, Dean-Paul Martin, Jeanne Martin, Gina Martin, Ricci Martin, Dean Martin, and Deana Martin pose for a family portrait circa 1966 at their home in Los Angeles, California.

Dean Paul — as he was called as an adult — also tried his hand as a semi-professional football player, race car driver and pre-med student. The multihyphenate appeared to have found his calling when he became a pilot with the Air National Guard in 1981.

"I’m proud of him," Dean said of his namesake. "I’d be proud even if he didn’t become a jet pilot, because he’s a good boy. He just doesn’t know what he wants to be.”

In his personal life, Dean Paul was married twice. In 1971, when he was 19, he wed actress Olivia Hussey. The couple had a son together, named Alexander, and split after four years. In 1982, he wed Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill; they were divorced by 1984.

Tragedy struck in March 1987 when Dean Paul's plane crashed into the side of a mountain during a routine training exercise — he was just 35 years old. The death was said to have crushed his father.

Ricci Martin

Mindy Small/FilmMagic Ricci Martin performs at The M Resort on November 8, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Mindy Small/FilmMagic Ricci Martin performs at The M Resort on November 8, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dean's sixth child and youngest son, Ricci, was born on Sept. 20, 1953. Like many members of his talented family, Ricci took to performing from an early age. "I grew up with it. Not that we would ever walk into the house and hear Dad's songs playing on the stereo. Or even Frank's. It was always someone else. But there was always music," he told the Deseret News in 2007.

Ricci released an album in 1977 titled Beached, in collaboration with Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys, and had a hit song called "Stop Look Around." By the late 1990s, Ricci began performing alongside his late brother Dean Paul's former bandmates Arnaz Jr. and Hinsche in the group Ricci, Desi & Billy — an homage to his older brother's former rock band.

<p>Dominick/WWD/Penske Media/Getty</p> Ricci Martin, Dean Martin, and Jeanne Martin attend a party in Beverly Hills, California, on October 5, 1981.

Dominick/WWD/Penske Media/Getty

Ricci Martin, Dean Martin, and Jeanne Martin attend a party in Beverly Hills, California, on October 5, 1981.

In 2002, Ricci wrote a memoir titled That's Amore: A Son Remembers about growing up with his famous family in Beverly Hills. In the book, he recounted his 21st birthday party that was attended by the likes of John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Elizabeth Taylor, David Bowie and Elton John, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Ricci was married to Annie Rasmussen and the pair had three daughters, Pepper, Montana and Rio. In August 2016, the performer was found dead in his home at the age of 62.

At the time of his death, Ricci's older sister Deana posted a tribute on Facebook. "My family and I are devastated. He was one of the sweetest souls I have ever known," she wrote. "Ricci's kindness, sweetness and loving nature will be missed more than words can say."

Gina Martin, 67

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection Dean Martin and his daughter Gina Martin on January 13, 1983 dining at La Famiglia Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection Dean Martin and his daughter Gina Martin on January 13, 1983 dining at La Famiglia Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California

The youngest child from Dean's marriage to Jeanne was a daughter named Gina, born on Dec. 20, 1956. Compared to her siblings, Gina has led a life relatively out of the spotlight. She appeared with her family on a holiday episode of The Dean Martin Show in 1967; 20 years later, Gina acted in a television movie called Action Family.

She wed Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys in 1987 after seven years of dating, according to Ricci's memoir, That's Amore. The wedding was "a nice glimmer of sunshine in what had been a gray season for our family" after the passing of Dean Paul earlier in the year, Ricci wrote.

Gina remained married to Wilson until his death from lung cancer in 1998, per the Los Angeles Times.

Sasha Martin

Dean married his third wife, Catherine, in 1973. She was a receptionist at a Beverly Hills hair salon and had a daughter named Sasha whom Dean adopted after their wedding.

"I never referred to her as my step-sister or adopted sister," Ricci wrote in That's Amore. "Through three marriages and eight kids, we were always one family. The Martins."

Catherine and Dean would eventually divorce in 1976, but the father-of-eight always made sure Sasha "was taken care of," according to Ricci's memoir.

Sasha would go on to have a brief career in acting, playing Marina Cooper on the soap opera Guiding Light from 1997 to 1999 and appearing in the 1997 film Private Parts as Howard Stern's daughter.

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