This page was last updated on 24 July 2010.
Maggie was a very patriotic woman so I decided to play "Battle Hymn of the Republic" on this page for you.
Here you can learn about her family, marriages, child, and grandchild. Just click on the pictures to see the enlargements.
Margy Reed--later changed to Martha Raye--born 27 August 1916 in Butte, MT.
Here is a photo of Maybelle "Peggy" Hooper which was taken in 1940 when she went to a premiere of "The Boys From Syracuse" with Maggie in New York City:
So many people have tried to say Maggie's birth name was anything and everything but what it was. Thanks to the Vital Statistics Bureau in Montana for this copy of her birth certificate that I got direct from Montana:
This photo was taken when the siblings were quite young. Left to Right: Melodye, a friend, Bud and Margy. Photo donated by Melodye Raye Condos.
Here is another photo of Maggie when she was quite young--probably one of the few photos of her prior to a performance on stage:
Hamilton "Buddy" Westmore: 5/30/37-8/37
This photo of Buddy and Maggie was taken at The Trocadero in Hollywood (Paramount Photo by Don English)
Another photo of Maggie and Buddy. Three months later Maggie filed for divorce stating "extreme cruelty" as the reason.
David Rose: 10/8/38-5/19/41
David and Maggie on a happy trip to a show the night before they married. (L-R) Jimmy Fidler, Maggie, David, Mrs Fidler. Photo by Acme Photo/Los Angeles Bureau taken on 7 Oct 38.
Neal Lang: 6/25/41-2/3/44
Maggie and Ann Sheridan joined Neal (behind Maggie) and Lloyd Bacon before boarding the plane for their wedding. Photo by Charles Rhodes, Fawcett Publishing taken on 10 Jun 41.
Nick Condos: 3/44-6/17/53
(L-R) Steve Condos, Maggie, Nick and unknown man. Photo by US AAF, Camp Pinedale, 38 Jul 45.
Edward Thomas Begley: 4/21/54-10/6/56
There are few photos of this couple so I'm glad my friend Danny had this one.
Bob O'Shea: 11/7/56-62
Maggie married her former bodyguard in Teaneck, NJ in the home of Mayor August Hannibal. Photo appeared in the L.A. Mirror & News on 8 Nov 58.
Mark Harris: 9/25/91-10/19/94
7/26/44--Melodye Raye Condos
Maggie and Nick with her only child--daughter Melodye born 26 Jul 44.
1965--Nicholas Lancaster--this photo of a proud grandmother holding the baby and his mother was taken by John Paul Capobianco, Nick's godfather, at Holy Trinity Church in NYC following Nick's christening. Photo donated by John Paul Capobianco.
Martha "Colonel Maggie" Raye died 19 October 1994--she was buried at the Fort Bragg Cemetery in Fayetteville, NC
The above photos were taken by me the day of the funeral and a couple of years later after the headstone was finally put in place while I was visiting Maggie's gravesite. Each time I go through Fayetteville I make it my business to stop by the cemetery to visit Maggie's grave at site 780-B.
On Friday 26 Nov 04 CNN's "Larry King Live" program had Mark Harris as I guest. Following the program I wrote the following letter to Larry King and the AOL Message Board:
After watching the program on Friday 26 Nov 04 hosted by
Nancy Grace I'd like to point out a couple of mistakes made by Mr. Harris.
First of all--the JFK Special Warfare Museum at Fort Bragg, NC was there a long time before Martha "Colonel Maggie" Raye passed away. When Mr. Harris finally sent Maggie's military memorabilia to them, many of those items were damaged, but the salvageable items were set up in one small room of the museum. However--that room is no longer there. Maggie's items were turned over to the Special Forces Association Headquarters just off the fort in Fayetteville and as far as I know they are in storage not on display.
Secondly--Maggie was visiting Vietnam long before the American public knew our troops were there. There was no bet ever made for her to go there. She went willingly to support and entertain our troops.
Thirdly--she was not a nurse. She never got past the 5th grade in school. Although she had nurse's aide (candy stripper) training in the 30s she never became a licensed practical or registered nurse. BUT she did learn nursing care via on-the-job (OJT) training during air raids while entertaining troops in Africa and England when an extra pair of hands were much needed for the wounded soldiers. Years later when she spent so much time in Vietnam--her OJT was put to work again. She helped out in the Xray, Triage, Operating Rooms and many other areas. Many soldiers believed she was a nurse in the Army or Army Reserve. She was not though she did hold honorary military titles (ranks).
Fourth--Maggie and Rock Hudson were best friends. She knew he was gay and they never talked about marriage.
Fifth--Monsieur Verdoux was never banned in the US. However Maggie's involvement in it with Charlie Chaplin did help to get her blackballed in Hollywood for a number of years.
Sixth--Maggie was 20 when she married 21 yr. old Buddy Westmore. He was not several years younger than her as stated by Mr. Harris. Also her divorce from Robert O'Shea was in 1962 long before she married Mr. Harris in 1991.
Next--the conservatorship was requested by her daughter, Melodye Condos, to protect her mother from Mr. Harris after they were married. The courts agreed.
How do I know all this you wonder--well I was the woman who spearheaded the successful effort to get her awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the only person authorized by Maggie and her daughter to write her biography "Memories of Maggie: Martha Raye--A Legend Spanning Three Wars" which was published in 1995 and its sequel "Potpourri Of War: Labors of Love Remembered" published in 1998. I was also instrumental in getting her story on A&E Biography.
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