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Dean Martin Golddiggers

Linda (Alberici) Eichberg and Maria Lauren (seen above with Deano), two of the original Dean Martin Golddiggers, share their memories of working in the rarified world of network television and Las Vegas during the entertainment industry's most glamorous era.

Three Decades of Performing as a Dean Martin Golddigger!
by Maria Lauren

Dean Martin & girlsWow! The stars! The memories!

Touring with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on the same bill!

Opening the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as Dean Martin's opening act and then at Bally's for many years until Dean's final performances.

The girls and I shared special moments with Dean as we waited to go on stage. Dean would actually pout if we didn't give him a hug before the show. He also liked a kiss on his cheeks from all of the girls to give him the perfect blush!

Their were sad moments like consoling him after the death of his son and fun moments like watching Dean write Jerry Lewis messages on a backstage wall and Jerry's reply on the same wall... so many stories!

Let's start at the beginning.

Hi! My name is Maria Lauren, formerly Maria Elena Alberici. A little background: I'm the oldest of nine children and learned the love of singing from my parents. I grew up with a passion for performing and keeping fit and won two national fitness awards before I became a "Golddigger."

The GolddiggersBob Hope Tour
Starting from the bottom, left to right: Patti Gribow, Peggy Gohl, Maria Lauren, Bob Hope, Wendy Kimball, Linda Eichberg

The Audition:
I auditioned for The Golddiggers with my sister Linda. It was our very first New York "cattle call!" We didn't even bring a dance leotard! Luckily, there was a store that sold them across the street. Hundreds of girls auditioned. At first, no one knew that we were sisters because we looked so different (She's a natural blonde and I'm a brunette)! We did solos and then we were divided up into groups. First we sang, (that's our strength) and then we danced. I felt safe dancing in the back line, my showmanship in high gear until the producer Greg Garrison, asked me to come to the front and lead the dance and said, "Perform it like this girl!"

Filling The Golddigger Shoes:
My sister and I were flown to Hollywood to learn the act and go through more auditions! Previously, we had seen The Golddiggers on TV so we knew we had some glamorous shoes to fill! Little did we know that we would actually be wearing go-go boots and costumes with their names still in them until we were fitted for our own costumes!

My Most Embarrassing Moment:
On the Dean Martin variety TV show, Dean would sing a musical question to one of us at the bar and we would give a musical answer. Well, when it was my turn, I began to think of some acting theory that I had learned in drama class and forgot my line! This was in front of a live audience!! The producer, Greg, shouted, "Cut!" and I thought that I would be fired for sure but he laughed and gave me a hug and told me to do it again. He kept the mistake and the retake on the show. This was reality TV before it became popular! Greg liked to keep it loose. So did Dean. He never rehearsed so we had to learn Dean's blocking. That's why he usually had a Golddigger on his arm.

My Television Favorites:
My favorite segment on Dean's TV show was "Music Country" and singing with Dean and county legends like Lynn Anderson, Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, Roy Orberson etc. Coming from a closely knit family and growing up on the Pennsylvania countryside, my sister and I would get home sick. Singing those country songs helped us feel closer to home.

The GolddiggersThe Golddiggers - Last group to perform with Dean Martin
(From bottom, left - right) Marie Halton, Maria Lauren, Linda Regan, Peggy Gohl

Favorite Backstage Memory of Dean:
As Dean got older, I cherished the last performances with him as we continued to be billed with Dean as his opening act at Bally's in Las Vegas. Some of us got married and I married Carmine Riccio and to my delight, I became a mom. It was a precious moment backstage when I brought my daughter, Marianna, who was only a year old, to meet Dean. Years after, she would love pointing to his picture on the lighted sign in front of Bally's and say, "Dean Martin." He obviously made an impression! (For more stories read, "Backstage at the Dean Martin Show," a best selling book written by Lee Hale)

The Golddiggers TodayShowstoppers 2007
(Left to right) Maria Lauren, Linda Eichberg, Peggy Gohl

Looking Back…
The best thing about being a member of The Golddiggers was the extended family of sisters and lifetime friends that were made. It's fun to celebrate birthdays and special events together. In 2003, it was an honor for me to stage a musical number and perform as The Golddiggers at the star-studded Professional Dancers Society annual Ball in Beverly Hills. It was nostalgic because Lee Hale, The Golddiggers musical director and producer of Dean's TV Specials was the honoree. (Dean Martin Fan Center Magazine #41)

We continually perform in reunion shows that I produce called, "Showstoppers!" This is our way to pay tribute to the wonderful showstoppers that have touched our lives and careers. We've received wonderful reviews! (Dean Martin Fan Center Magazine #40) Some of the girls that have joined me in the reunion performances are: Linda Eichberg, Peggy Gohl, Marie Halton, Linda Regan, Patti Gribow, Robyn Whatley, Joyce Garro, Susan Buckner and Deborah Pratt. All the girls that I performed with have their own unique personality, beauty and an impressive resume!

I know the girls have their own special stories about Dean to tell. For instance, Dean always called Peggy, "Crazy" because she was always clowning around. Peggy still cracks me up today both on stage and off stage with her funny wit, proclaiming, "After seventeen years as a Golddigger, just call me an "Olddigger!" Luckily, everything old is new again!

Today (2007)…
I work as a Lifestyle Educator and teach fitness classes like Yoga, Aerobics, Tai-Chi, Muscle Conditioning and Pilates at health/wellness corporations in the Los Angeles area. I enjoy performing and producing live shows too, especially when I get a chance to perform with my daughter (She's 21 now), sisters or fellow "Golddiggers!" Some of us have gone on to star in movies and television; produce, write and direct TV; host radio and TV; create Art; choreograph stage and movies; promote healing; help children with Aids; raise children, dogs and husbands! We've been blessed … I've been blessed!

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Picture at top left:
The Golddiggers with Dean Martin
(Starting from the bottom, left to right) Maria Lauren, Peggy Gohl, Robyn Whatley, Pati Gribow, Dean Martin, Joyce Garro, Linda Eichberg

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