This page was last updated on 29 September 2015.
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
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:
photo of Buddy and Maggie was taken at The Trocadero in Hollywood (Paramount
Photo by Don English)
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
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
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
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
Use any of the buttons below to go to another page to learn more about this amazing woman.
Let me know what you think about my page. Send mail by clicking here.
Copyright 2000-2015 by Noonie Fortin. All rights reserved.