of the Day
Clue of the Month
comic actress and singer
clues: Comedienne Martha; “Big Mouth” Martha; Funny
Martha; Martha in denture ads; Late
comedian Martha; Zany Martha
once a year
Raye, Slapstick Queen
didn't have to work till I was three. But after that, I never
~ Martha Raye
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.
as the outrageous Benita Bizarre on The Bugaloos (1970).
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
article is licensed under the GNU
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It uses material from the Wikipedia
article "Martha Raye".