Pete Martinez was born Jose Martinez-Berlanga in 1913. He was also sometimes known as Pete Stefan. Mexican born, he was raised in California where he received his early dance training. He moved to New York and immediately joined the School of American Ballet. While there he met, and began an intimate relationship with, Lincoln Kirstein, founder of the American Ballet Company. Pete was also a member of the company. When Lincoln married Fidelma Cadmus, sister of painter Paul Cadmus, in 1941, she moved in with both Lincoln and Pete. Three continues to live together until 1942 when Pete tried to enlist in the army, but was denied. He then moved to Haverford, Pennsylvania to work at a Jewish refugee hostel where he decided he would wait to be drafted.
Christopher Isherwood also worked with Pete at the hostel, they had previously met through Lincoln in 1939. Chris's diaries give a detailed description of their months in Pennsylvania, including mention of several trips to New York to visit Lincoln and Fidelma. Although it is assumed that the majority of their time in Haverford was platonic, it is clear from Chris's diaries that they greatly enjoyed each others company and had at least one sexual encounter in August of 1942. Both Christopher and Pete left Haverford in September and went their separate ways, but they continued there friendship and met again at various times in New York and California.
He was briefly in California in 1943, when he met Christopher again, before leaving to fight in Northern France until 1945. When he returned Pete continued to dance until 1947 when an injury required him to retire. He became a teacher and opened his own studios in Norfolk, VA, Ohio and eventually California where he worked until the 1960's. He died in California in 1997.