Martha Raye, known as the BIG mouth of show business, was born on August 27th 1916, and has starred in numerous television shows.
She was born Margy Reed in Butte, Montana, to Maybelle Hazel (Hooper) and Peter Reed, Jr., vaudeville performers. She had Irish, German, and English ancestry. Raye made her acting debut before the age of 10 as she toured the nation with her parent’s variety show “Reed and Hopper”.
In her late teens she was hired by band-leader Paul Ash as his lead vocalist and was spotted by a Hollywood talent scout during a New York City concert in 1934. She soon relocated to Hollywood were she began making a name for herself appearing in a string of successful screwball comedies alongside the likes of Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, W.C. Fields, and Joe E. Brown.
With the outbreak of World War II she took a break from film making to focus on entertaining servicemen and women traveling with the USO on many tour stops. She soon became even more famous for her dedication to America, its values, and its soldiers who helped earn her the beloved nickname “Colonel Maggie”.
She continued acting into the late 1980s dividing her time between movies, TV guest spots, and occasional stage appearances. She passed away on October 19, 1994 after a long battle from pneumonia and was buried with full military honors at the Fort Bragg Main Post Cemetery, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Martha “Colonel Maggie” Raye was 78 years old.
She also suffered from Alzheimer’s, cataracts and liver disease, and had lost both legs the year before her death due to circulatory problems.
If you still can’t remember who Martha Raye was? She was a spokesperson for Polident denture cleanser in the 1970s and 1980s.
Today’s YouTube presentation clip brought to you by user name, Wisawaporn Jakkoljan;
Now that I got the wheels of your memory turning in your head, I’m sure you remember other things she’s done in her career.
She was a television star very early in its history, and even had her own program for a while, The Martha Raye Show (1954–1956), some of the guest stars on the show were Zsa Zsa Gabor, Cesar Romero, and Broadway dancer Wayne Lamb. She also appeared on other TV shows in the 1950s, such as What’s My Line?
In 1970, she portrayed Boss Witch, the “Queen of all Witchdom”, in the feature film Pufnstuf for Sid and Marty Krofft.
She often appeared as a guest on other programs; particularly ones that often had older performers as guest stars such as ABC’s The Love Boat, she made guest appearances or did cameo roles in such series as Murder, She Wrote on CBS and The Andy Williams Show and McMillan & Wife, both on NBC.
She appeared again as Agatha for the six-episode run of the retooled McMillan, taking over for Nancy Walker, who had left the series. Her last film appearance was as an incontinent airline passenger in the disaster film The Concorde … Airport ’79 (1979).
As we remember Martha Rayes birthday today on today’s day to remember.