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

Marilyn Maxwell (August 3, 1921 – March 20, 1972), born Marvel Marilyn Maxwell,[1] 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[edit]

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


From the trailer for Stand By for Action

She started her professional entertaining career as a radio singer[5][6][7] 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[8] 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.[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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11][12] 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."[13]

Personal life[edit]

Maxwell married three times, each marriage ending in divorce. In September 1944, she married actor John Conte; they divorced in June 1946. Her second marriage, to restaurateur Anders McIntyre, lasted just over a year, from January 1, 1950,[14] until they were divorced 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[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1946 Stars over Hollywood A Woman's Touch[15]


In 1972, Maxwell's 15-year-old son arrived home from school and found her dead at the age of 50 of an apparent heart attack, after she had been treated for hypertension and pulmonary disease. Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Jack Benny were honorary pallbearers at her funeral.[16]



Short subjects[edit]

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


  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. ^ "Ted Weems and his Orchestra". RedHot Retrieved October 27, 2010. 
  6. ^ Herzog, Buck (October 15, 1962). "Along Amusement Row". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  7. ^ "On the Stage". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 21, 1939. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Say Hello to ..." (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 14 (2): 42. June 1940. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "People in the News-Hope Favors 'Silver Bells'". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. November 14, 1977. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  10. ^ "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show". Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  11. ^ Humphrey, Hal (August 6, 1961). "Marilyn Maxwell: At the Crossroads". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  12. ^ Lowry, Cynthia (October 26, 1961). "Heavy Fare Of Variety Shows On TV". Gettysburg Times. Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ "Marilyn Maxwell Seeking Divorce". The Oregon Statesman. February 17, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved September 13, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  15. ^ "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
  16. ^ "Marilyn Maxwell Obituary". Eickemeyer Funeral Chapel. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]