Take It from the Big Mouth: The Life of Martha Raye

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9780813121109: Take It from the Big Mouth: The Life of Martha Raye

"She was one of the world's four best comediennes," said Milton Berle, "but she lived a life of personal disaster." Martha Raye sang, danced, and joked her way into the spotlight of the entertainment world with a career that spanned seven decades and encompassed everything from vaudeville to television commercials to entertaining U.S. troops.

Take It from the Big Mouth, the first full-fledged biography of the multi-talented performer, explores Raye's life and career with candor and insight. Raye got her big break when she caught the attention of a film director as she kidded with audience members Joe E. Lewis and Jimmy Durante during an engagement at the Trocadero in Hollywood. In the late 1930s, Raye appeared in a number of films, and the press heralded her as a "stridently funny comedienne with a Mammoth Cave mouth." From there her career soared. She landed a role in Charlie Chaplain's film Monsieur Verdoux, and the New York Post commented that Raye was the only one who could hold her own with the comic master. By the 1950s she hosted her own highly rated television show, reaching millions with her clowning.

Behind the huge smile and raucous laugh, though, there was a darker side to Martha Raye. She found solace from her insecurities and a frenzied schedule in the use of drugs and alcohol. Her seven rocky marriages, the last to a man 33 years her junior whom she had known less than two weeks, fueled headlines and gossip columns. Particularly painful was her turbulent relationship with her only daughter, Melodye.

She was passionately committed to entertaining troops abroad during World War II, and she worked tirelessly as both entertainer and nurse in the remote jungles of Vietnam. Bob Hope commented that "she was Florence Nightingale, Dear Abby, and the only singer who could be heard over the artillery fire." The Green Berets designated her an honorary lieutenant colonel, and she later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After her death in 1994, "Colonel Maggie" became the only civilian laid to rest among the Green Berets at the Fort Bragg military cemetery.

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About the Author:

Freelance writer Jean Maddern Pitrone, author often biographies including The Dodges: The Auto Family Fortune and Misfortune.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A paint-by-numbers biography of the much-married singer, actress, comedienne, pitchwoman. Martha ``Maggie'' Raye was literally born into show business, delivered between engagements in 1916 to a pair of struggling vaudevillians. Their own act had begun to grow stale, so it wasnt long before Raye and her two siblings were drafted into the show. The child attracted some attention, but vaudeville was dying and her family played smaller and smaller engagements until work dried up almost entirely at the onset of the Depression. There hadnt been much time or inclination for school, and Raye remained semi-literate throughout her adult life, relying on her manager (and one-time husband), Nick Condos, to read scripts aloud to her. Determined to support her family, teenage Maggie tried her hand at singing in nightclubs, which led to theater, then Hollywood. Raye possessed a remarkably versatile voice and a rare flair for knockabout, physical comedy; she was soon starring or co-starring in a host of largely forgettable musicals and comedies. With the entry of the US into World War II, she threw herself wholeheartedly into entertaining the troops, going where even Bob Hope wouldnt dare: the most distant outposts, the most exposed positions. Her film career suffered, and by the end of the war it was almost over. Television and nightclubs filled the gap, and she continued to dedicate substantial amounts of time and energy to ``her boys'' in both Korea and Vietnam. Along the way, Raye found the time for seven marriages and a child she mistreated and neglected, although not quite at the Mommie Dearest level. Pitrone (The Dodges: The Auto Family Fortune and Misfortune, not reviewed, etc.) paints an acid-tipped portrait of a self-obsessed, heedless semi-star, but this account lacks any depth or perceptiveness. (16 b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description The University Press of Kentucky, United States, 1999. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. She was one of the world s four best comediennes, said Milton Berle, but she lived a life of personal disaster. Martha Raye sang, danced, and joked her way into the spotlight of the entertainment world with a career that spanned seven decades and encompassed everything from vaudeville to television commercials to entertaining U.S. troops. Take It from the Big Mouth, the first full-fledged biography of the multi-talented performer, explores Raye s life and career with candor and insight. Raye got her big break when she caught the attention of a film director as she kidded with audience members Joe E. Lewis and Jimmy Durante during an engagement at the Trocadero in Hollywood. In the late 1930s, Raye appeared in a number of films, and the press heralded her as a stridently funny comedienne with a Mammoth Cave mouth. From there her career soared. She landed a role in Charlie Chaplain s film Monsieur Verdoux, and the New York Post commented that Raye was the only one who could hold her own with the comic master. By the 1950s she hosted her own highly rated television show, reaching millions with her clowning. Behind the huge smile and raucous laugh, though, there was a darker side to Martha Raye. She found solace from her insecurities and a frenzied schedule in the use of drugs and alcohol. Her seven rocky marriages, the last to a man 33 years her junior whom she had known less than two weeks, fueled headlines and gossip columns. Particularly painful was her turbulent relationship with her only daughter, Melodye. She was passionately committed to entertaining troops abroad during World War II, and she worked tirelessly as both entertainer and nurse in the remote jungles of Vietnam. Bob Hope commented that she was Florence Nightingale, Dear Abby, and the only singer who could be heard over the artillery fire. The Green Berets designated her an honorary lieutenant colonel, and she later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After her death in 1994, Colonel Maggie became the only civilian laid to rest among the Green Berets at the Fort Bragg military cemetery. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780813121109

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Book Description The University Press of Kentucky, United States, 1999. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. She was one of the world s four best comediennes, said Milton Berle, but she lived a life of personal disaster. Martha Raye sang, danced, and joked her way into the spotlight of the entertainment world with a career that spanned seven decades and encompassed everything from vaudeville to television commercials to entertaining U.S. troops. Take It from the Big Mouth, the first full-fledged biography of the multi-talented performer, explores Raye s life and career with candor and insight. Raye got her big break when she caught the attention of a film director as she kidded with audience members Joe E. Lewis and Jimmy Durante during an engagement at the Trocadero in Hollywood. In the late 1930s, Raye appeared in a number of films, and the press heralded her as a stridently funny comedienne with a Mammoth Cave mouth. From there her career soared. She landed a role in Charlie Chaplain s film Monsieur Verdoux, and the New York Post commented that Raye was the only one who could hold her own with the comic master. By the 1950s she hosted her own highly rated television show, reaching millions with her clowning. Behind the huge smile and raucous laugh, though, there was a darker side to Martha Raye. She found solace from her insecurities and a frenzied schedule in the use of drugs and alcohol. Her seven rocky marriages, the last to a man 33 years her junior whom she had known less than two weeks, fueled headlines and gossip columns. Particularly painful was her turbulent relationship with her only daughter, Melodye. She was passionately committed to entertaining troops abroad during World War II, and she worked tirelessly as both entertainer and nurse in the remote jungles of Vietnam. Bob Hope commented that she was Florence Nightingale, Dear Abby, and the only singer who could be heard over the artillery fire. The Green Berets designated her an honorary lieutenant colonel, and she later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After her death in 1994, Colonel Maggie became the only civilian laid to rest among the Green Berets at the Fort Bragg military cemetery. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780813121109

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Book Description The University Press of Kentucky, United States, 1999. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. She was one of the world s four best comediennes, said Milton Berle, but she lived a life of personal disaster. Martha Raye sang, danced, and joked her way into the spotlight of the entertainment world with a career that spanned seven decades and encompassed everything from vaudeville to television commercials to entertaining U.S. troops. Take It from the Big Mouth, the first full-fledged biography of the multi-talented performer, explores Raye s life and career with candor and insight. Raye got her big break when she caught the attention of a film director as she kidded with audience members Joe E. Lewis and Jimmy Durante during an engagement at the Trocadero in Hollywood. In the late 1930s, Raye appeared in a number of films, and the press heralded her as a stridently funny comedienne with a Mammoth Cave mouth. From there her career soared. She landed a role in Charlie Chaplain s film Monsieur Verdoux, and the New York Post commented that Raye was the only one who could hold her own with the comic master. By the 1950s she hosted her own highly rated television show, reaching millions with her clowning. Behind the huge smile and raucous laugh, though, there was a darker side to Martha Raye. She found solace from her insecurities and a frenzied schedule in the use of drugs and alcohol. Her seven rocky marriages, the last to a man 33 years her junior whom she had known less than two weeks, fueled headlines and gossip columns. Particularly painful was her turbulent relationship with her only daughter, Melodye. She was passionately committed to entertaining troops abroad during World War II, and she worked tirelessly as both entertainer and nurse in the remote jungles of Vietnam. Bob Hope commented that she was Florence Nightingale, Dear Abby, and the only singer who could be heard over the artillery fire. The Green Berets designated her an honorary lieutenant colonel, and she later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After her death in 1994, Colonel Maggie became the only civilian laid to rest among the Green Berets at the Fort Bragg military cemetery. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780813121109

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Book Description University Press of Kentucky 4/8/1999, 1999. Hardback or Cased Book. Book Condition: New. Take It from the Big Mouth: The Life of Martha Raye. Book. Bookseller Inventory # BBS-9780813121109

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