Martha Raye was born on this day in 1916

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RAYE (ray)

American comic actress and singer

Common clues: Comedienne Martha; “Big Mouth” Martha; Funny Martha; Martha in denture ads; Late comedian Martha; Zany Martha

Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year

Video: Martha Raye, Slapstick Queen

I didn't have to work till I was three. But after that, I never stopped ~ Martha Raye

Martha Raye (August 27, 1916 – October 19, 1994) was an Academy Award-winning American comic actress and standards singer who performed in movies, and later on television.

Raye as the outrageous Benita Bizarre on The Bugaloos (1970).

Raye's life as a singer and comedy performer began very early in her childhood. She was born at St James Hospital, Butte, Montana as Margy Reed, where her Irish immigrant parents, Peter F. Reed and Maybelle Hooper, were performing at a local vaudeville theatre as "Reed and Hooper". Two days after Martha was born, her mother was already back on stage, and Martha first appeared in their act when she was three years old. She performed with her brother, Bud, and soon the two children became such a highlight that the act was renamed "Margie and Bud." Some show business insiders speculated that the Judy Garland song from A Star Is Born, "I was born in a trunk in the Princess Theater in Pocatello, Idaho" was inspired by Raye's beginnings.

Raye continued performing from that point on and even attended the Professional Children's School in New York City, but she received so little formal schooling, getting only as far as the fifth grade, that she often had to have scripts and other written documents read to her by others.

Raye was an early television star when that medium was very young; for a while she had her own program, The Martha Raye Show (1954 - 1956) in which she was the lead and her awkward boyfriend was portrayed by retired middleweight boxer Rocky Graziano. Other stars who appeared on her show included Zsa Zsa Gabor and Cesar Romero. Following the demise of her TV variety show, the breakup of her fifth marriage, and a series of other personal and health problems, she attempted suicide with sleeping pills on August 14, 1956. Well wishers gave her a St. Christopher's medal, a St. Genesius medal and a Star of David. After her recovery she wore these faithfully, although she was neither Catholic nor Jewish. At the end of her TV programs she would also thank the nuns at the The Sisters of St. Francis Hospital in Miami, Florida where she recovered. She would always say, "Goodnight, Sisters" as a sign of appreciation and gratitude. Later, Raye served as the television spokesperson for Polident denture cleanser, principally during the 1970s and 1980's. Raye's catch-phrase used in the vast majority of these ads was, "So take it from a big mouth, new Polident green gets tough stains clean."

In appreciation of her work with the USO during World War II and subsequent wars, special consideration was given to bury her in Arlington National Cemetery upon her death, however, at her request, she was ultimately buried with full military honors in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Raye has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for motion pictures, located at 6251 Hollywood Blvd., and for television, located at 6547 Hollywood Blvd.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Martha Raye"

RAYE (90) 20 We >1 08 Zany Martha

12 Tu >1 08 Comedienne Martha