Martha Raye Overview:

Legendary actress, Martha Raye, was born Margaret Teresa Yvonne Reed on Aug 27, 1916 in Butte, MT. Raye died at the age of 78 on Oct 19, 1994 in Los Angeles, CA .


Powerhouse strawberry-blonde American vocalist and comedian with the energy of Betty Hutton and a voice that made Ethel Merman sound like Peggy Lee. Mostly on stage, but popular for a while in vigorous screen musicals of the late 1930s and early 1940s. Much later she re-appeared, dyspeptically personable, as a housekeeper in the TV series McMillan. She was awarded a special Oscar in 1969 for her work entertaining the troops in World War II - facets that may have inspired the Bette Midler character in For the Boys, over which Raye unsuccessfully sued. Seven times married, she was in poor health in her last years, suffering a stroke and the amputation of a leg below the knee.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Film Stars).



She was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the categories of Motion Pictures and Television. Raye was never nominated for an Academy Award. However she won one Honorary Award in 1968 Martha Raye .

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Martha Raye Facts
Died of pneumonia at Cedars Sinai Medical Center at 1:45pm; by 2pm Harris had her body en route to a mortuary. She also suffered from Alzheimers, cataracts and liver disease, and had lost both legs the year before her death due to circulatory problems.

Was an honorary Green Beret. Visited U.S. Army Special Forces in Vietnam without fanfare. Registered nurse Lt. Colonel, helped out when things got bad in Special Forces A-Camps. Affectionately known by Green Berets as "Colonel Maggie."

Performed in a family act called "Reed and Hooper" (their parents' names) with brother Bud. Martha (whose real name was Margaret) and Bud so consistently stole the show that the name of the act was eventually changed to "Bud and Margie."

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