Though he has done many other things since the late '60s and early '70s, comedian/actor Dick Martin will best be remembered as the co-host of the innovative sketch comedy series Laugh-In (1968-1973) with his longtime partner and straightman Dan Rowan. Rowan and Martin started out on television appearing briefly on the summer edition of the comedy variety show The Chevy Show in 1958. He and Rowan made their feature-film debut that year in the Western Once Upon a Horse. Between 1962 and 1964, Martin, sans Rowan, was a regular on The Lucy Show. The two reunited to appear regularly on The Dean Martin Summer Show (1966-1967). That year, Martin also made another solo appearance in the Doris Day feature The Glass Bottom Boat. Laugh-In was the comic duo's biggest success and at the peak of their popularity, the two attempted to further cash in by appearing in the Abbott and Costello-like horror spoof, The Maltese Bippy (1969). The film bombed and it would be years before Martin again appeared in a film. Since then, his acting appearances on television and in film have been sporadic.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Lost the use of a lung after a teenage bout with tuberculosis.
- After arriving in Hollywood in the early 1950s, got a writing job on the radio comedy series Duffy's Tavern; also tended bar.
- Began his stand-up partnership with Dan Rowan in 1952.
- Had a recurring role on The Lucy Show in 1962-63, playing Lucy's neighbor Harry Conners.
- With Rowan, hosted the successful Dean Martin Summer Show in 1966 on NBC.
- Notable Laugh-In alums include Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Henry Gibson and (as a writer) Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels.
- Wife Dolly Read was Playboy's Playmate of the Month for May 1966 and the first British Playmate in the magazine's history.
- Began directing episodic TV at Bob Newhart's suggestion, and Martin directed numerous episodes of The Bob Newhart Show, plus the final episode of Newhart, which TV Guide placed at 5 on its 1996 list of 100 Most Memorable Moments in TV History. Other series he directed include Archie Bunker's Place, Family Ties, Mama's Family and In the Heat of the Night.