Tony Martin MGM Musicals

Alice Faye Tony Martin You Can't Have EverythingTony Martin Movies. (See previous post: “Tony Martin Singer Dies.” Photo: Tony Martin and Alice Faye in the 1938 20th Century Fox musical You Can't Have Everything.)

Following his discharge from the military, Tony Martin had a big hit with his rendition of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans' “To Each His Own,” a song that topped the charts (in various versions) in 1946. That was the year Olivia de Havilland starred in the hit melodrama To Each His Own at Paramount.

Also in 1946, Martin had a cameo in the MGM musical extravaganza Till the Clouds Roll By. Yet, his next lead in a Hollywood movie would come only in 1948. That's when he starred as the seductive fugitive Pepe le Moko in John Berry's Casbah, a musicalized remake of both Pépé le Moko (1937, Jean Gabin) and Algiers (1938, Charles Boyer). Yvonne De Carlo was the replacement for previous Pépé lovers Mireille Balin and Hedy Lamarr.

Tony Martin MGM Musicals

Two years later, Martin had his one of his last true leads in James V. Kern's MGM musical Two Tickets to Broadway (1951), featuring Janet Leigh and Gloria DeHaven. Martin later supported Bob Hope and romanced Arlene Dahl in Here Come the Girls (1953); was third-billed after Esther Williams and Van Johnson in Easy to Love (1953), in which Martin got to sing the title song; and was one of the various cast members in Hit the Deck (1955), featuring Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds, Walter Pidgeon, Ann Miller, Vic Damone, and others.

Tony Martin's movie career came to an abrupt halt in the late '50s, following his appearance opposite Vera-Ellen in Henry Levin's Let's Be Happy. By that time, mid-level Hollywood musicals had gone out of style. From then on, studios produced either low-budget fare aimed at teenagers or mammoth megabudget productions such as Gypsy, The Music Man, and The Sound of Music.

Tony Martin marriage to Cyd Charisse

From then on, Martin and wife Cyd Charisse (they were married in 1948) became nightclub fixtures, as Charisse's film career also ended abruptly after the demise of the traditional MGM musical. Among Charisse's MGM efforts in the '50s – most of which were considerably more prestigious than Martin's movies at the studio – were Stanley Donen's Singin' in the Rain (1952), Vincente Minnelli's The Band Wagon (1953), Minnelli's Brigadoon (1954), Donen and Gene Kelly's It's Always Fair Weather (1955), and Rouben Mamoulian's Silk Stockings (1957).

The couple remained married until Charisse's death of a heart attack in 2008. Their joint autobiography, The Two of Us, was published in 1976. Their son, Tony Martin Jr, died at age 60 in 2011.

Tony Martin continued singing in nightclubs and cabaret acts until his mid-'90s. In a 2009 review of a five-day nightclub engagement, the New York Times' Stephen Holden wrote: “To watch the 96-year-old Tony Martin perform songs he recorded more than six decades ago in a voice that is surprisingly unchanged from what it was in the 1940s and '50s is to witness how popular songs and memory can work together as a kind of Proustian madeleine.”

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