Tony Martin singer dies. Actor-singer Tony Martin, once married to Fox singing star Alice Faye and the widower of MGM dancer-actress Cyd Charisse, died of "natural causes" at his West Los Angeles home on Friday, July 27. Martin was 98.
Tony Martin movies
Though never quite a movie star, Tony Martin (born Alvin Morris on Dec. 25, 1913, in San Francisco) was featured in nearly 30 films. Of those, most were programmers or B movies, with only two or three major productions interspersed among them. (I'm not including Martin's few bits in mid-'30s movies such as Follow the Fleet, Murder on the Bridle Path, and Poor Little Rich Girl.)
Initially at 20th Century Fox, Martin had a small but memorable role in Sidney Lanfield's minor musical Sing Baby, Sing (1936), starring Martin's future wife Alice Faye. The following year, Martin landed another small role in an Alice Faye musical, Norman Taurog's You Can't Have Everything, chiefly notable for the presence of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee (as Louise Hovick) in a supporting part.
That same year, Gypsy / Hovick and Martin found themselves once again cast in the same movie: the David Butler-directed Eddie Cantor vehicle Ali Baba Goes to Town. By then, Martin was established as a leading man in minor Fox musicals.
Tony Martin movies of that period included Sing and Be Happy (1937); Life Begins in College (1937), with the Ritz Brothers (Fox's answer to the Marx Brothers) and Gloria Stuart (of latter-day Titanic fame); Kentucky Moonshine (1938), once again with the Ritz Brothers, plus Marjorie Weaver; Thanks for Everything (1938), with Adolphe Menjou and Jack Oakie; and Winner Take All (1939), once again opposite Gloria Stuart. Additionally, Martin was cast in another vehicle for Alice Faye, who was by then one of the biggest box office attractions in the United States: Sally, Irene and Mary (1938).
Tony Martin: 'Mr. Alice Faye'
Faye and Martin were married in 1937; the couple were divorced three years later. Whereas Alice Faye's movie career continued to prosper in the early '40s, Tony Martin's stalled. "To many people around town," Martin would later say, "I was Mr. Alice Faye."
No longer at Fox, Martin was cast opposite a pre-stardom Rita Hayworth in Music in My Heart (1940) at Columbia, and in the MGM remake of Sally, Irene and Mary (itself a remake of a silent 1925 MGM melodrama). Renamed Ziegfeld Girl (1941), the lush Robert Z. Leonard / Busby Berkeley-directed musical / melodrama starred Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr, and Lana Turner. Martin had what amounted to a supporting role.
The romantic lead in a minor Marx Brothers comedy, The Big Store (1941), ended the first phase of Tony Martin's movie career.
What followed was World War II and rumors that Martin used bribery to get himself an officer's commission in the Navy. Apparently as a result of the controversy, Martin eventually got out of the Navy and joined the Army.
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Tony Martin quote: Los Angeles Times.