Saturday, November 26, 2016
Martha Raye (1916 –1994) was an American comic actress and standards singer who performed in movies, and later on television. She also acted in plays, including Broadway. She was honoured in 1969 with an Academy Award as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient for her volunteer efforts and services to the troops.
On November 2, 1993, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton for her service to her country. Part of the citation reads:
“The great courage, kindness, and patriotism she showed in her many tours during World War II, the Korean conflict, and the Vietnam conflict earned her the nickname 'Colonel Maggie'. The American people honour Martha Raye, a woman who has tirelessly used her gifts to benefit the lives of her fellow Americans."
Raye's personal life was complex and emotionally tumultuous. She was married seven times and was a devout Methodist who regularly attended church, read the Bible daily, and even taught Sunday school classes.
Raye was conservative, affirming her political views by informing an interviewer, "I am a Republican because I believe in the constitution, strength in national defense, limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility as the concrete foundation for American government. They reinforce the resolve that the United States is the greatest country in the world and we can all be eternally grateful to our founding fathers for the beautiful legacy they left us today."
She was buried with full military honours in the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, post cemetery as an honorary colonel in the U.S. Marines and an honorary lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.