Jeanne Martin, model and ex-wife of Dean Martin, dies at 89

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Ricci Martin, Son of Dean, Reportedly Dies at 62


Jeanne Martin, a model and Orange Bowl queen who became the wife of singer and actor Dean Martin during the height of his fame, died Wednesday after a battle with cancer at her Beverly Hills home, her family announced. She was 89.

After marrying Dean Martin in 1949, the pair were one of Hollywood's most photographed couples. Matriarch of their large family, she gave birth to three of Dean's children while raising four more from his previous marriage. Their breakup in 1969 caused nearly as much distress to Martin's fans as his professional split with partner Jerry Lewis had in 1956.

PHOTOS: Jeanne Martin and Dean Martin together

18 PHOTOS
Dean Martin and his second wife Jeanne
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Dean Martin and his second wife Jeanne
Singer Dean Martin and wife Jeanne Martin attending 'SHARE Boomtown Benefit Party' on May 25, 1968 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Jeanne Martin, son Dean-Paul Martin and wife Olivia Hussey attending 'Dean-Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey Wedding Ceremony' on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Ricci Martin, Actor Dean Paul Martin, Jeanne Martin, and Deana Martin attend the 'A Boy...A Girl' Westwood Premiere on April 24, 1969 at United Artists Theatre in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Gina Martin, Jeanne Martin, Actors Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey, Deana Martin, Actor/Singer Dean Martin, and Ricci Martin attend the Wedding of Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Dean Paul Martin, Jeanne Martin, and guest the 15th Annual SHARE Boomtown Party on May 25, 1968 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Jeanne Martin, Actors Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey, and Actor/Singer Dean Martin attend the Wedding of Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actor/Singer Dean Martin and wife Jeanne Martin attend the 15th Annual SHARE Boomtown Party on May 25, 1968 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actor/Singer Dean Martin and wife Jeanne Martin attend the Third Annual All-American Collegiate Golf Dinner on August 22, 1967 at Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 17: Singer Dean Martin, wife Jeanne Martin, son Dean-Paul Martin and wife Olivia Hussey attending 'Dean-Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey Wedding Ceremony' on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS - APRIL 17: Jeanne Martin and son Ricci Martin attend the Wedding of Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 17: Singer Dean Martin, wife Jeanne Martin, son Dean-Paul Martin, wife Olivia Hussey and family attending 'Dean-Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey Wedding Ceremony' on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - 1967: Entertainers Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra with with their families, Dean Paul Martin and Frank Sinatra Jr., Jeanne Martin, Tina Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Gail Martin, Craig Martin, Claudia Martin, Deana Martin, Gina Martin and Ricci Martin on the set of 'The Dean Martin Show' Christmas special in 1967 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Martin Mills/Getty Images)
Dean Martin and his wife Jeanne at the 1967 Golden Globe Awards.
Italian-American singer Frankie Valli with Dean Martin's ex-wife Jeanne Martin (right) and his daughter Deana Martin, August 1980. They are at The Palomino Club in North Hollywood for a performance by Ricci Martin. (Photo by Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1967: Actor Rex Harrison talks with Dean and Jeanne Martin during the premiere party for 'Dr.Doolittle' in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1966: Entertainer Dean Martin with his wife Jeanne and children (Deana, Gina, Ricci and Dean Paul) pose for a family portrait in 1966 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Martin Mills/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Gina Martin, 7-months old, joins her lovely mother, Jeanne, and her dad, Dean, motion picture and tv star, for her first family photo session. Gina had to wait until her father returned from Europe last week before her picture could be taken. The Martins also have two sons, Dino, 5, and Ricci, 3 1/2.
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"Dean's viewers knew he was a good husband and father and the booze-and-broads jokes were just part of the act," wrote Lee Hale in the 2000 book Backstage at the Dean Martin Show, having served as musical director for the NBC program.

Born Dorothy Jean Biegger on March 27, 1927, in Coral Gables, Fla., she went by Jeanne when she began modeling in Miami. She was voted Orange Bowl queen in 1947. A year later, she came to the Beachcomber Club in Miami to see a New Year's Eve show starring Martin and Lewis.

Jeanne maintained she had never heard of either entertainer until that night. She told author Nick Tosches for a 1992 biography of Dean Martin that upon seeing him on stage, "We locked eyes and I knew. We just fell madly in love."

A week after Martin was granted a divorce from first wife Betty McDonald, he and 22-year-old Jeanne Biegger wed on Sept. 1, 1949, at the Beverly Hills home of Herman Hover, owner of famed Hollywood nightclub Ciro's. Lewis was best man.

She was "the best thing (next to me) that ever happened to Dean," wrote Lewis in a 2005 memoir, Dean & Me.

For 20 years, they were viewed as one of Hollywood's happiest couples until on Dec. 10, 1969, Jeanne issued a statement that they were parting ways.

The divorce wasn't finalized until 1972. Dean Martin was wed once more, to Catherine Hawn, a hair-salon receptionist, and legally adopted her daughter, Sasha, but that union ended in 1976. Jeanne Martin never remarried.

The pair became reacquainted in 1987 when one of their sons, actor Dean Paul Martin, was killed at 35 while piloting a military jet. Jeanne and Dean remained on good terms until his death from respiratory failure on Christmas Day 1995.

Eldest daughter Claudia Martin died of breast cancer in 2001.

Their youngest son, musician Ricci Martin, died on Aug. 3.

She is survived by son Craig Martin; daughters Gail Martin Downey, Deana Martin Griffeth and Gina Martin Romano; and 11 grandchildren. Funeral services will be private.

PHOTOS: A look back at Ricci Martin

21 PHOTOS
Ricci Martin
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Ricci Martin
FRANCE - MARCH 19: The crooner Ricci Martin son of actor Dean Martin in Valenciennes, France on March 19th, 2005. (Photo by Franck CRUSIAUX/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
(L-R) Alexander Martin, Gail Martin, Ricci Martin and Deana Martin (family of late honoree Dean Martin) arrive at The Recording Academy's Special Merit Awards Ceremony at Wilshire Ebell Theater on February 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)
399716 04: Dean Martins son Ricci Martin speaks about his famous father during a bookstore appearance at Barnes & Nobles January 17, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Sebastian Artz/Getty Images)
399716 02: Dean Martins son Ricci Martin poses with his new book 'Thats Amore: A Son Remembers Dean Martin' January 17, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Sebastian Artz/Getty Images)
FRANCE - MARCH 19: The crooner Ricci Martin son of actor Dean Martin in Valenciennes, France on March 19th, 2005. (Photo by Franck CRUSIAUX/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
399716 01: Dean Martins son Ricci Martin poses with his new book 'Thats Amore: A Son Remembers Dean Martin' January 17, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Sebastian Artz/Getty Images)
RICCI MARTIN, son of Dean, talking about his new book, detailing his father's life, during interview at the home of Dean Martin's widow, Jeanne, January 16, 2002. (Photo by Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Singer Dean Martin, son Ricci Martin and date Courtney Callahan being photographed on April 7, 1984 at Hamburger Hamlet in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
(L-R) Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys, singer Dean Martin, daughter Gina Martin, son Ricci Martin and date Courtney Callahan being photographed on January 13, 1983 at La Familiga Restaurant in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Ricci Martin, Actor Dean Paul Martin, Jeanne Martin, and Deana Martin attend the 'A Boy...A Girl' Westwood Premiere on April 24, 1969 at United Artists Theatre in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Ricci Martin attends the Wedding of Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Gina Martin, Jeanne Martin, Actors Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey, Deana Martin, Actor/Singer Dean Martin, and Ricci Martin attend the Wedding of Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Jeanne Martin and son Ricci Martin attend the Wedding of Dean Paul Martin and Olivia Hussey on April 17, 1971 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - 1967: Entertainers Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra with with their families, Dean Paul Martin and Frank Sinatra Jr., Jeanne Martin, Tina Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Gail Martin, Craig Martin, Claudia Martin, Deana Martin, Gina Martin and Ricci Martin on the set of 'The Dean Martin Show' Christmas special in 1967 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Martin Mills/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1966: Entertainer 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. (Photo by Martin Mills/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1966: Entertainer Dean Martin with his wife Jeanne and children (Gina, Ricci and Dean Paul) pose for a family portrait in 1966 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Martin Mills/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1966: Entertainer 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. (Photo by Martin Mills/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Gina Martin, 7-months old, joins her lovely mother, Jeanne, and her dad, Dean, motion picture and tv star, for her first family photo session. Gina had to wait until her father returned from Europe last week before her picture could be taken. The Martins also have two sons, Dino, 5, and Ricci, 3 1/2.
LOS ANGELES - 1966: Entertainer Dean Martin with his wife Jeanne and children (Deana, Gina, Ricci and Dean Paul) pose for a family portrait in 1966 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Martin Mills/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1966: Entertainer Dean Martin with his wife Jeanne and children (Deana, Gina, Ricci and Dean Paul) pose for a family portrait in 1966 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Martin Mills/Getty Images)
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