At the age of ten, he received a soprano saxophone as a gift from his grandmother. 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 only a high schooler, eventually joining the band of a local orchestra leader, Tom Gerun, as a reed instrument specialist, sitting alongside the future bandleader Woody Herman. In the mid-1930s, 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 vocalist on the radio program of George Burns and Gracie Allen. In the movies, he was 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 starred in a number of musicals. At the same time, between 1938 and 1942, he made a number of hit records for Decca.
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 Corps. 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. He cut 25 records in 1946 and 1947 for Mercury, including a 1946 recording of To Each His Own which became a million-seller. This prompted RCA Records to offer him a contract, which he signed in 1947 after satisfying his contract obligations to Mercury.
He had a number of hits for RCA until rock 'n' roll displaced traditional pop music on the charts.
He appeared in many film musicals in the 'forties and 'fifties. His rendition of Lover Come Back To Me in Deep In My Heart - based on the music of Sigmund Romberg and starring José Ferrer - was one of the highlights of Hollywood musicals.
Tony Martin Facts
|Birth Name||Alvin Morris|
|Birthday||December 25, 1912|
|Birthplace||San Francisco, California, USA|
|Date of death||July 27, 2012 (Los Angeles, California, USA, age 99)|
|Height||5' 11" (1m80) How tall is Tony Martin compared to you?|