Martha Raye

Actor, Comedian, Singer
Few entertainers would embrace a nickname like "The Big Mouth," but singer-actress Martha Raye was a very good sport. Of course, what some considered a physical detriment was ultimately a key source of her power as a ... Read more »
Born: 08/26/1916 in Butte, Montana, USA

Filmography

Actor (43)

Waikiki, in the Wake of Dreams 2000 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Wisecracks 1992 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Alice in Wonderland 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

NBC's 60th Anniversary Celebration 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Alice 1976 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Circus of the Stars 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

Skinflint 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

The Concorde - Airport '79 1979 (Movie)

Loretta (Actor)

'Twas the Night Before Christmas 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Bing!... A 50th Anniversary Gala 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

McMillan 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Steve Allen's Laugh-Back 1975 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bob Hope Show (09/13/71) 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bugaloos 1970 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bob Hope Show (10/05/70) 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

Pufnstuf 1969 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Phynx 1969 (Movie)

Foxy (Actor)

Billy Rose's Jumbo 1961 (Movie)

Lulu (Actor)

Dateline 1954 - 1955 (TV Show)

Actor

The All-Star Revue 1950 - 1953 (TV Show)

Actor

Monsieur Verdoux 1947 (Movie)

Annabella Bonheur (Actor)

The Boys From Syracuse 1939 (Movie)

(Actor)

Never Say Die 1938 (Movie)

(Actor)

College Swing 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

Give Me a Sailor 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Big Broadcast of 1938 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

Tropic Holiday 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

Artists and Models 1936 (Movie)

(Actor)

Waikiki Wedding 1936 (Movie)

(Actor)

College Holiday (Movie)

Daisy Schloggenheimer (Actor)

Double or Nothing (Movie)

Liza Lou Lane (Actor)

Four Jills in a Jeep (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Keep 'Em Flying (Movie)

Lillibelle Bolton (Actor)

Mountain Music (Movie)

Mary Beamish (Actor)

Navy Blues (Movie)

Lilibelle Bolton (Actor)

Pin-Up Girl (Movie)

Marian (Actor)

Pippin (Movie)

Berthe (Actor)

Rhythm on the Range (Movie)

Emma (Actor)

The Big Broadcast of 1937 (Movie)

Patsy (Actor)

The Farmer's Daughter (Movie)

Patience Bingham (Actor)

The Gossip Columnist (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Few entertainers would embrace a nickname like "The Big Mouth," but singer-actress Martha Raye was a very good sport. Of course, what some considered a physical detriment was ultimately a key source of her power as a singer and appeal as a comedienne. She first earned significant attention on Broadway and was soon part of the talent roster at Paramount, where Raye became the go-to girl for loud and obnoxious characters. The majority of her motion picture credits came in rather disposable fare, but there were occasional gems, notably the anarchic comedy classic "Hellzapoppin'" (1941) and Charlie Chaplin's superb dark farce "Monsieur Verdoux" (1947). In later years, Raye worked mostly on the small screen and toplined her own vehicle, "The Martha Raye Show" (NBC, 1954-56). One of her most lasting contributions was as a tireless USO entertainer. Over the course of three wars, Raye travelled extensively and sang for thousands of American soldiers. She also gained a degree of new recognition as the ubiquitous spokeswoman for Polident Denture Cleaner from the 1970s on. Unfortunately, her life out of the spotlight was often troubled and she went through seven marriages and a suicide attempt before enduring some truly sad final years. Whether belting out a standard like "That Old Black Magic" or doing sketch comedy, Raye was a larger than life personality who loved to perform and that energy and enthusiasm made her a favorite with the public for more than five decades.

Relationships

Ed Begley

Husband
Married April 21, 1954 Divorced Oct. 6, 1956

Nick Condos

Husband
Married Feb. 22, 1944 Divorced June 17, 1953

Melodye Condos

Daughter
born 1945 father Nick Condos estranged from Raye in 1991 sued for conservatorship of Raye and for her 25 percent of Raye's income from her Polident commercials (Raye videotaped a will, bequeathing the bulk of her estimated $2.4 million estate to Mark Harris, and leaving $1--as in previous wills--to daughter)

Mark Harris

Husband
Married Sept. 25, 1991 in Las Vegas, NV after a three-week courtship Remarried at the Friars Club Dec. 28, 1991; took over management of Raye's business affairs after marriage; remained married until her death Oct. 19, 1994

Mabel Hooper

Mother

Neal Lang

Husband
Married 1941 Divorced 1944

Robert O'Shea

Husband
Married Nov. 7, 1956 O'Shea sued Raye for fraud, claiming she promised him $60,000 to induce him to marry her; marriage was dissolved soon after Divorced Dec. 1, 1960

Peter Reed

Father
Irish immigrant song-dance-comedy trouper billed as Reed and Hooper, "The Girl and the Traveler"

Bud Reed

Brother
born in 1918

Melodye Reed

Sister
born in 1920

David Rose Music

Husband
Married 1938 Divorced 1941

Bud Westmore Makeup

Husband
Married 1937 Divorced 1938

EDUCATION

Professional Children's School

New York , New York
attended briefly

Milestones

1967

Took over the title role of Dolly Gallagher Levi from Ginger Rogers in the long-running Broadway musical, "Hello, Dolly!"

1950

TV debut in "Anything Goes" on "Musical Comedy Theater

1948

Made London debut in variety show at the Palladium

1947

Played most acclaimed film role in Charles Chaplin's black comedy, "Monsieur Verdoux"

1936

Feature film debut opposite Bing Crosby in "Rhythm on the Range"

1935

Appeared on Broadway in "Earl Carroll's Sketch Book"

1935

Was discovered by Paramount while working as a nightclub singer in Hollywood

1934

Made NY debut at Loew's State Theater

1934

Made Broadway debut in the revue Lew Brown's "Calling All Stars"

1934

Made film debut in short subjects

1931

Worked as band singer and comedienne with Paul Ash's Orchestra at age 15 (date approximate)

1919

Toured extensively in vaudeville as Bud and Margie with the Benny Davis Revue, the Ben Blue Company and the Will Morrissey Company

1916

Entered parents' vaudeville act at age three

Became TV spokeswoman for Polident denture products in the 1980s

Was featured as Carrie Sharples on CBS sitcom "Alice"

Starred on "The Martha Raye Show"

Joined Boris Morros's Orchestra as a band vocalist with whom she played the Paramount Theatre on Broadway

Played the housekeeper in the NBC TV series, "McMillan", starring Rock Hudson

Toured annually in Vietnam until the American withdrawal in 1974

Was alternating host on TV series, "All Star Revue"

Toured with the USO during WWII

Began to suffer a series of strokes in the late 1980s

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