Tony Martin, one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age of musicals, has died this past Friday, July 27, of natural causes at his West Los Angeles home it was announced today. He was 98.
Martin is perhaps best remembered for his role as the charming thief Pepe Le Moko who was at odds with Peter Lorre’s inspector Slimane in 1948’s Casbah. Although he had previously appeared in a number of films, it was his turn here that catapulted his career into stardom and his performance of the song “For Every Man There’s a Woman” in that film earned it a Best Original Song Academy Award nomination.
Brought to Hollywood in 1934 after MGM studio chief Louis B Mayer heard him performing on a San Fransisco radio show, Martin’s early career saw him being featured in such films as the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical Follow The Fleet, Poor Little Rich Girl with Shirley Temple, Kentucky Moonshine, alongside the Ritz Brothers and Sally, Irene And Mary opposite Alice Faye, who would go on to be Martin’s first wife. He would marry his second wife, dancer and actress Cyd Charisse in 1948 and they would stay married until her death in 2008.
When audience demand for musicals began to wane on the 1960s, Martin went in to a successful recording and cabaret performance career.