Martha Raye

Martha Raye followed Ginger Rogers in the original Broadway run of Hello, Dolly! Martha Raye was the 3rd Broadway Dolly opening on February 27th, 1967 following Ginger Rogers. Her run lasted until June of that year. Raye lent her charm to become one of the funniest of the Broadway Dolly’s. She was also very available, traveling to Vietnam to perform for the troops, where she famously collapsed mid performance.

Sondra Lee recalls that out of all the Dollys she appeared with, Martha Raye was the most “available”. Sondra went to Vietnam with Martha’s Dolly company where Martha was a Green Beret. Sondra said Martha had a heart that showed.

A popular singer, comedienne, and actress, comfortable with both nightclubs and the theater, Martha Raye received many awards. In addition to her prominence in the Broadway scene and recognized for her varied performance talents, Martha Raye also performed for servicemen during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War; portraying herself as a memorable personality with a big heart.

Photo courtesy: Danny Proctor