Maxwell was born in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and later moved to Kansas City, Missouri. He began his career at Walt Disney, where Maxwell, along with Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, and Friz Freleng, was part of the unit that eventually broke away from Disney to form the nucleus of what later became the Warner Bros. animation studio (under contract with Leon Schlesinger).
Besides animating for Harman-Ising, Maxwell also performed the voice of their most famous creation, Bosko. Maxwell was also later a production manager in the Cartoon Department of MGM Studios, working there as late as 1953.
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