Alvin Morris, known professionally as Tony Martin, was an American actor and popular singer. His career spanned over seven decades, and he scored dozens of hits between the late-1930s and mid-1950s with songs such as "Walk Hand in Hand", "Stranger in Paradise" and "I Get Ideas". He was married to actress and dancer Cyd Charisse for 60 years, from 1948 until her death in 2008.
In his grammar school glee club, he became an instrumentalist and singer. He formed his first band, named "The Red Peppers," when he was in high school. After college, he went to Hollywood to try films. It was at that time that he adopted the stage name of Tony Martin.
On radio, Martin sang and was master of ceremonies on Tune-Up Time, with Andre Kostelanetz, on CBS in the early 1940s. NBC broadcast The Tony Martin Show, a 15-minute variety program. One of his guests was Dinah Shore. He was also a featured vocalist on the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio program.
In films, Martin was first cast in a number of bit parts, including a role as a sailor in Follow the Fleet. He eventually signed with 20th Century-Fox and then Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in which he starred in a number of musicals. Between 1938 and 1942, he made a number of hit records for Decca. In 1941, Martin received equal billing with the Marx Brothers in their final film for MGM, The Big Store.
Martin joined the United States Navy in 1942 as a chief specialist, the equivalent of a chief petty officer. He was dismissed from the service that year for "unfitness" after he testified at the court martial of a Naval procurement officer. He enlisted as a specialist after the officer twice failed to obtain a commission for him. Martin said that he had given the officer an auto worth $950 to "facilitate" his enlistment. At the time of his dismissal, the Navy said that removal for unfitness was not equivalent to a dishonorable discharge and "does not carry degradation."
After the war, Martin signed with Mercury Records, then a small independent label 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. It was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. This prompted RCA Victor to offer him a record contract, which he signed in 1947 after satisfying his contract obligations to Mercury. He continued to appear in film musicals during 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 that film. He also starred as Gaylord Ravenal in the Show Boat segment from the 1946 film Till the Clouds Roll By. In 1958, he became the highest paid performer in Las Vegas, signing a five-year deal at the Desert Inn, earning $25,000 a week. In an unlikely pairing, Martin recorded for the Motown Records label in the mid-1960s, scoring a minor hit with the record "Talkin' To Your Picture."
Martin was a stockholder in the Parvin-Dohrmann Corporation, a hotel and casino company that owned the Flamingo Las Vegas.