Marilyn Maxwell


1923 - 1972

Actress Marilyn Maxwell, 49, who was born in Clarinda died Monday at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif. Her 15 year-old son, Matthew, discovered her body when he returned from school. Authorities tentatively listed the cause of death as a heart attack and ordered an autopsy. She had been treated recently for high blood pressure and pulmonary disease, police said.

She was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Harry E. Maxwell, who groomed her to be an actress from the time she was a child. Miss Maxwell's show business career began when she was a child under the tutelage of her piano-teacher mother, Mrs. Harry E. Maxwell of Clarinda. After leaving Clarinda when Marilyn was five, Mrs. Maxwell toured the country as an accompanist. Harry Maxwell died in 1950 at Tabor, where he farmed. Mrs. Maxwell died in 1951. Miss Maxwell missed the funerals of both her parents because she was on USO tours for American servicemen around the world.

With her mother's encouragement, Miss Maxwell became a nightclub singer at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis, Ind., while in high school. There, Buddy Rogers saw her and hired her as a singer for his band. Later, she sang with the band of Ted Weems, who paid for her acting lessons at the Pasadena playhouse.

Miss Maxwell made her first movie in 1942, appearing in "Stand By For Action" with Robert Taylor. She appeared with Van Johnson and Lionel Barrymore in several of the Dr. Gillespie movies and played opposite Bob Hope in "The Lemon Drop Kid," Kirk Douglas in "Champion," Mickey Rooney in "Summer Holiday," Clark Gable in "Key To the City," and George Raft in "Race Street." She was also proud of being straight woman for comedians such as Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis and Jack Benny.

 She toured with some of them in shows for servicemen overseas in World War II and the Korean War. Miss Maxwell was divorced three times.

 Survivors in addition to her son include a brother, Leland Maxwell, who with his wife flew to California from their Armonk, NY, home. A brother, Paul, and both parents preceded her in death.

Jerry Davis, father of Matthew, was in Mexico on television tour at time of Marilyn's death. When her mother died, she visited Clarinda relatives in 1951. She was cousin of Fred and Ben Tomlinson, Mrs. Mildred Swanson, Mrs. Fred McIntyre and Angus McIntosh of the local area. Several of the Tomlinson relatives are in California and will represent the family at the funeral to be held Friday at the Beverly Hills Community Presbyterian Church. Burial will be there. Mrs. Pearl Newell, Thomas and Frank Tomlinson are among the relatives in California.

The family has designated the Marilyn Maxwell scholarship fund, which has been established in her memory, for memorials. She had been on board of directors of Young Musicians Foundation, which group created the fund.

 Honorary pallbearers at her funeral: Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Jack Benny.