Image of Martha Raye

Martha Raye

Martha Raye (born Margy Reed), nicknamed The Big Mouth, was an American comic actress and singer who performed in movies, and later on television. She also acted in plays, including Broadway. She was honored in 1969 at the Academy Awards as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient for her volunteer efforts and services to the troops. In the early 1930s, Raye was a band vocalist with the Paul Ash and Boris Morros orchestras. She made her first film appearance in 1934 in a band short titled A Nite in the Nite Club. In 1936, she was signed for comic roles by Paramount Pictures, and made her first picture for Paramount. Her first feature film was Rhythm on the Range with crooner Bing Crosby. She was a featured cast member in 39 episodes of Al Jolson's weekly CBS radio show, The Lifebuoy Program, also called Cafe Trocadero. In addition to comedy, Martha sang both solos and duets with Jolson. Over the next quarter century, she would appear with many of the leading comics of her day, including Joe E. Brown, Bob Hope, W. C. Fields, Abbott and Costello (in Keep 'Em Flying), Charlie Chaplin (in Monsieur Verdoux), and Jimmy Durante. She joined the USO in 1942, soon after the US entered World War II. She was known for the size of her mouth, which was large in proportion to her face, earning her the nickname The Big Mouth. She later referred to this in a series of television commercials for Polident denture cleaner in the 1980s: "So take it from The Big Mouth: new Polident Green gets tough stains clean!" Her large mouth would relegate her motion picture work to supporting comic parts, and was often made up so it appeared even larger. In the Disney cartoon Mother Goose Goes Hollywood, she is caricatured while dancing alongside Joe E. Brown, another actor known for a big mouth. In the Warner Bros. cartoon The Woods Are Full Of Cuckoos (1937), she was caricatured as a jazzy scat-singing donkey named 'Moutha Bray'. She often appeared as a guest on other programs, particularly those which often featured older performers as guest stars, such as ABC's The Love Boat, and also on variety programs, including the short-lived The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show. She appeared from the third to the ninth seasons as Carrie Sharples on Alice, making two or three appearances a season. 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. Later in her career, she made television commercials for Polident denture cleanser, principally during the 1970s and 1980s.

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Aug 27, 1916 In Butte, Montana, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Rhythm on the Range 1936-07-01
Latest Project:
Movie Sid & Judy 2019-06-26
Known For
Poster of Pippin
Poster of The Love Boat
Poster of The Dick Cavett Show
Poster of Monsieur Verdoux
Movie Sid & Judy Herself (archive footage) 2019-06-26
Movie And the Oscar Goes To... Unknown 2014-02-01
Movie Bing Crosby: Rediscovered Unknown 2014-12-02
Movie The Adventures of Errol Flynn Self (archive footage) 2005-04-05
Series Alice in Wonderland Duchess 1985-12-09
Series Murder, She Wrote Sadie Winthrope 1984-09-30
Movie Pippin Bertha 1982-01-01
Movie The Gossip Columnist Georgie O'Hanlon 1980-03-21
Movie The Concorde... Airport '79 Loretta 1979-08-17
Movie Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol Ghost of Christmas Past 1979-12-18
Series The Love Boat Zelda 1977-09-24
Movie 'Twas the Night Before Christmas Unknown 1977-12-07
Series Alice Unknown 1976-08-31
Series McMillan & Wife Agetha 1971-09-17
Movie No Substitute for Victory Herself 1970-01-01
Movie The Phynx Foxy 1970-03-06
Movie Pufnstuf Boss Witch 1970-05-03
Series The Bugaloos Unknown 1970-09-12
Series The Barbara McNair Show Unknown 1969-09-13
Series The Dick Cavett Show Herself - Guest 1968-06-06
Series The Carol Burnett Show Unknown 1967-09-11
Series The Hollywood Palace Unknown 1964-01-04
Series Burke's Law Unknown 1963-09-20
Series Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Unknown 1963-10-04
Movie Billy Rose's Jumbo Lulu 1962-12-06
Series The Big Party Unknown 1959-10-08
Series The Steve Allen Show Unknown 1956-06-24
Series The Oscars Unknown 1953-03-18
Series What's My Line? Self - Mystery Guest 1950-02-02
Series The Colgate Comedy Hour Unknown 1950-09-10
Movie Monsieur Verdoux Annabella Bonheur 1947-09-26
Movie Four Jills in a Jeep Martha Raye 1944-03-17
Movie Pin Up Girl Molly McKay 1944-04-25
Movie Show-Business at War Self 1943-05-21
Movie Hellzapoppin' Betty Johnson 1941-12-25
Movie Navy Blues Lilibelle Bolton 1941-09-13
Movie Keep 'Em Flying Gloria Phelps / Barbara Phelps 1941-11-27
Movie The Farmer's Daughter Patience Bingham 1940-03-29
Movie The Boys from Syracuse Luce 1940-07-30
Movie Never Say Die Mickey Hawkins 1939-03-08
Movie $1,000 a Touchdown Martha Madison 1939-10-04
Movie Give Me a Sailor Letty Larkin 1938-08-19
Movie The Big Broadcast of 1938 Martha Bellows 1938-02-11
Movie College Swing Mabel Grady 1938-04-29
Movie Tropic Holiday Midge Miller 1938-06-29
Movie Waikiki Wedding Myrtle Finch 1937-03-23
Movie Mountain Music Mary Beamish 1937-06-18
Movie Artists & Models Martha Raye 1937-08-04
Movie Double or Nothing Liza Lou Lane 1937-09-17
Movie Rhythm on the Range Emma 1936-07-01
Movie The Big Broadcast of 1937 Patsy 1936-10-05
Movie Hideaway Girl Helen Flint 1936-11-20
Movie College Holiday Daisy Schloggenheimer 1936-12-19