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
Born backstage at a local vaudeville theatre in Butte, Montana, where her song-and-dance Irish immigrant parents Pete Reed and Mabelle Hooper were performing. Two days after Martha was born, her mother was back doing the act.

Daughter by Condos, Melodye Raye Condos (Melodye Condos), born 26th July 1944.

Following the demise of her TV variety show, the breakup of her fifth marriage, and a series of other personal problems, she attempted suicide with sleeping pills on August 14, 1956. After her recovery she always wore a St. Christopher's medal, a St. Genesius medal and a Star of David given to her by wellwishers. At the end of her TV programs she also would say "Good night, Sisters," a reference to The Sisters of St. Francis Hospital in Miami where she recovered.

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