Martha Raye Biography (1916-1994)

Born Margaret Theresa Yvonne Reed, August 27, 1916, in Butte, MT; died aftera lengthy illness, October 19, 1994, in Los Angeles, CA; buried with full military honors at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Actress. For seven decades, in acareer that stretched from the vaudeville stage to the motion picture screen,Raye entertained audiences with her high-energy singing and dancing and herwarm- hearted wisecracks. Hailed for her work entertaining American troops through three wars, Raye received a special Academy Award in 1969 and was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993. Born in a hospital charityward to parents who travelled the vaudeville circuit, Raye took to the stageat the age of three. After appearing in several Broadway revues, she was spotted at a Los Angeles nightclub in 1935 and was cast alongside Bing Crosby inthe 1936 musical, Rhythm on the Range, where her slapstick performance madeher an overnight star. Other films followed, including College Holiday, 1936;Give Me a Sailor, 1938; Pin-up Girl, 1944; and with Charlie Chaplin in 1947's Monsieur Verdoux. By the 1950s Raye had begun to concentrate on televisionand nightclub acts, where her comedic skills and trademark wide mouth grin continued to appeal to audiences. Among her work for television were The MarthaRaye Show, which aired 1955-56; the series McMillan and Alice; and guest-starring roles in numerous variety shows. During World War II, Raye was one of the first Hollywood entertainers to volunteer to perform for U.S. troops, andher stage work extended to Broadway where she took over for Ginger Rogers inHello Dolly in 1967 and starred in the 1972 production of No, No, Nanette.

Birth Details
August 27, 1916
Butte, Montana, United States
Death Details
October 19, 1994
Los Angeles, California, United States

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