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Topic: Tony Martin
Tony Martin (born December 25, 1912) is an American actor and traditional pop singer. Martin was born Alvin Morris in Oakland, California to Jewish immigrants from Poland. He received a soprano saxophone as a gift from his grandmother at ten. 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 at Oakland Technical High School, eventually joining the band of a local orchestra leader, Tom Gerun, as a reed instrument specialist, sitting alongside the future bandleader Woody Herman. He attended Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga during the mid-1930s. After college, 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 featured vocalist on the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio program. On the show Gracie Allen playfully flirted with Tony, often threatening to fire him. She'd say things like "Oh Tony you look so tired, why don't you rest your lips on mine." In the movies, he was first 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 then Metro Goldwyn Mayer in which he 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 Forces. 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, Illinois. 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 Victor records to offer him a contract, which he signed in 1947 after satisfying his contract obligations to Mercury. In 1937 he married Alice Faye, and in 1941 they were divorced. Martin has been married since 1948 to Cyd Charisse, almost a Hollywood record for marital success. They have one son together - Tony Martin Jr., born in 1950. He appeared in many film musicals in the 1940s and 1950s. His rendition of "Lover Come Back To Me" with Joan Weldon in Deep in My Heart - based on the music of Sigmund Romberg and starring José Ferrer - was one of the highlights of Hollywood musicals.