Marilyn Maxwell

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Marilyn Maxwell
Marilyn Maxwell 1961.JPG
Maxwell in 1961
Born Marvel Marilyn Maxwell
(1921-08-03)August 3, 1921
Clarinda, Iowa, U.S.
Died March 20, 1972(1972-03-20) (aged 50)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Cause of death heart attack
Years active 1942–71
Spouse(s) John Conte (1944–46)
Anders (Andy) McIntyre (1949–50)
Jerry Davis (1954–60)
Children 1

Marvel Marilyn Maxwell[1] (August 3, 1921 – March 20, 1972) was an American actress and entertainer. A sex symbol of the 1940s and 1950s,[2] she appeared in several films and radio programs, and entertained the troops during World War II and the Korean War on USO tours with Bob Hope.[3]

Early years

Maxwell was a native of Clarinda, Iowa.[4]

During the 1930s, blonde bombshell Marilyn Maxwell worked as an usher in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Rialto Theater located at 2616 South Calhoun Street.[5] The Rialto Theater opened in 1924. lt was considered one of the Midwest's most beautiful theaters at the time of its opening and cost $150,000 to build. It was run by James Heliotes and Charles Lambarakis.


From the trailer for Stand By for Action

She started her professional entertaining career as a radio singer[6][7][8] while still a teenager, before signing with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1942 as a contract player. Among the programs in which she appeared were Beat the Band[9] and The Abbott and Costello Show. The head of MGM, Louis B. Mayer, insisted she change the "Marvel" part of her real name. She dropped her first name and kept the middle one.[3] Some of her film roles included Lost in a Harem (1944), Champion (1949), The Lemon Drop Kid (1951), and Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958). The song "Silver Bells" made its debut in The Lemon Drop Kid, sung by Maxwell and Hope.[10]

Maxwell appeared twice as a singer in the second season (1955–56) of NBC's The Jimmy Durante Show. On May 16, 1957, she guest-starred on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.[11]

In the 1961–62 television season, Maxwell played Grace Sherwood, owner of the diner on ABC's 26-episode Bus Stop, a drama about travelers passing through the fictitious town of Sunrise, Colorado.[12][13] She left the series after 13 episodes, saying, "There was nothing for me to do but pour a second cup of coffee and point the way to the men's room."[14]

Personal life

Maxwell married three times; each ended in divorce. In September 1944, she married actor John Conte; the relationship was dissolved in June 1946. Her second marriage, to restaurateur Anders McIntyre, lasted just over a year, from January 1, 1950[15] until March 23, 1951.[1] Maxwell's six-year marriage to writer/producer Jerry Davis ended in 1960. Her only child, Matthew, was born to Maxwell and Davis in 1956.

According to Arthur Marx's Bob Hope biography The Secret Life of Bob Hope, Hope's long-term affair with Maxwell was so open that the Hollywood community routinely referred to her as "Mrs. Bob Hope".

Maxwell also had a multi-year affair with Frank Sinatra, as detailed in Alex Gibney's 2015 documentary on Sinatra for HBO, All or Nothing At All.

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1946 Stars over Hollywood A Woman's Touch[16]


On March 20, 1972, at age 50, Maxwell was found dead in her home by her 15-year-old son, who had arrived home from school. The cause was an apparent heart attack; she had been treated for hypertension and pulmonary disease. Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Jack Benny were honorary pallbearers at her funeral.[17]



Short subjects

  • Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Goes to Bat (1950) - Herself
  • Brooklyn Goes to Las Vegas (1956) - Herself


  1. ^ a b "Actress Gets Freedom". The Plain Speaker. March 23, 1951. p. 12. Retrieved September 13, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ Hyams, Joe (March 1991). Flight of the Avenger: George Bush at War. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-15-131469-0. 
  3. ^ a b Wilson, Earl (September 28, 1952). "Another Marilyn! Are There Two?". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Actress Marilyn Maxwell Dies". The La Crosse Tribune. March 21, 1972. p. 14. Retrieved September 13, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ Ankenbruck, John (1975). Twentieth Century History of Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne: Twentieth Century Historical Fort Wayne, Inc. 
  6. ^ "Ted Weems and his Orchestra". RedHot Retrieved October 27, 2010. 
  7. ^ Herzog, Buck (October 15, 1962). "Along Amusement Row". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  8. ^ "On the Stage". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 21, 1939. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Say Hello to ..." (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 14 (2): 42. June 1940. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "People in the News-Hope Favors 'Silver Bells'". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. November 14, 1977. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  11. ^ "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show". Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  12. ^ Humphrey, Hal (August 6, 1961). "Marilyn Maxwell: At the Crossroads". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  13. ^ Lowry, Cynthia (October 26, 1961). "Heavy Fare Of Variety Shows On TV". Gettysburg Times. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  14. ^ Thomas, Bob (November 19, 1961). "Marilyn Maxwell Just 'Rides Away' From Show". The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. p. 63. Retrieved September 13, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  15. ^ "Marilyn Maxwell Seeking Divorce". The Oregon Statesman. February 17, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved September 13, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  16. ^ "Marilyn Maxwell Stars On WHP in "Stars Over Hollywood" Original". Harrisburg Telegraph. November 23, 1946. p. 19. Retrieved September 13, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  17. ^ "Marilyn Maxwell Obituary". Eickemeyer Funeral Chapel. Archived from the original on January 23, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 

Further reading

  • Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924–1984. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0351-9. 

External links

  • Marilyn Maxwell on IMDb
  • Marilyn Maxwell at Find a Grave
  • Marilyn Maxwell obituary
  • Beat the Band April 7, 1940 episode Maxwell appears as Marvel Maxwell.
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