"I always said
I'd have Roger (Moore) for a husband,
but Sean (Connery) for a weekend lover."
As well as appearing beside
Roger Moore as Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond films, Maxwell made
two appearances with Moore on The Saint (1962).
Maxwell (February 14th 1927 September 29th 2007) was a
Canadian actress, best known for her portrayal of Miss Moneypenny in
the first fourteen James Bond films, (1962-85). She was the first
actress to play the part and is second only to Desmond Llewelyn for
the number of appearances in "James Bond" movies. She
appeared in 14 while he appeared (as Q) in 17.
She began her film career in the late
1940s and won the actress Golden Globe Award for Most Promising
Newcomer for her performance in That Hagen Girl (1947). Following a
number of small film roles, Maxwell became dissatisfied and travelled
to Italy, where she worked in film from 1951 to 1955. After her
marriage, she moved to the United Kingdom, where she appeared in
several television productions.
As Maxwell's career declined, she lived in
Canada, Switzerland and the UK. In 2001, she was diagnosed with bowel
cancer, and moved to Western Australia, where she lived with her son
until her death in 2007.
Lois Ruth Hooker in Kitchener, Ontario, to a nurse mother and a
teacher father, Maxwell was raised in Toronto and attended Lawrence
Park Collegiate Institute. Dissatisfied with the yields of
babysitting jobs, she set her sights on something more lucrative and
landed her first job working as a waitress at Canada's largest and
most luxurious summer resort, Bigwin Inn, on Bigwin Island in Lake of
Maxwell started out against her parents'
will, and without their knowledge, in a Canadian children's radio
program, credited as "Robin Wells". During World War II,
she ran away from home, aged 15, to join the Canadian Women's Army
Corps, a unit formed to release men for combat duties. CWAC personnel
were secretaries, vehicle drivers and mechanics, who performed every
conceivable non-combat duty. Maxwell quickly became part of the Army
Show in Canada. Later, as part of the Canadian Auxiliary Services
Entertainment Unit, she was posted to the United Kingdom, where she
performed music and dance numbers to entertain the troops, often
appearing alongside Canadian comedians Wayne and Shuster.
Her true age was discovered when the group
reached London. To avoid repatriation to Canada, she was discharged
and subsequently enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
(RADA), where she became friends with fellow student Roger Moore.
Her movie career started with a Michael
Powell and Emeric Pressburger production, A Matter of Life and Death
(1946). After having won The Most Promising Newcomer Golden Globe
Award in 1947 for her role in the Shirley Temple comedy That Hagen
Girl (1947, above) she went to Hollywood and made six more films. In
1949, Maxwell was among eight starlets who were asked to pose for a
picture in Life magazine. In addition to Maxwell, there was another
starlet who would go on to bigger things, Marilyn Monroe. It was at
this time that she changed her surname from Hooker to Maxwell, a name
borrowed from a ballet dancer friend. The rest of her family also
took this name.
of Maxwell's work consisted of minor roles in B films. Tiring of
Hollywood, she moved back to Europe, living in Rome for five years
(195055). There she made a series of films, and at one point
became an amateur racing driver. One of her Italian films was an
adaptation of the opera Aida (1953), in which Maxwell played a
leading role, lip-synching to another woman's vocals and appearing in
several scenes with a pre-stardom Sophia Loren.
While visiting Paris, she met her future
husband, the TV executive Peter Marriott; they married in 1957 and
moved to London, where both their daughter Melinda and son Christian
were born (in 1958 and 1959).
During the 1960s, Maxwell appeared in many
TV series and in films outside the Bond series in both the UK and
Canada, and was the star of Adventures in Rainbow Country later that
decade. She also guest-starred in episodes of The Avengers, Danger
Man with Patrick McGoohan, The Saint and The Persuaders!, both of
which starred Roger Moore, and provided the voice of Atlanta for the
Supermarionation science-fiction children's series Stingray. She had
a minor role as a nurse in Stanley Kubrick's Lolita (1962) and
appeared in The Haunting, a 1963 British psychological horror film
directed and produced by Robert Wise (below). In 1965, Maxwell had a
guest appearance in "Something for a Rainy Day", an episode
of the ITC series The Baron, as an insurance investigator.
Maxwell lobbied for a role
in the James Bond film Dr. No (1962), since her husband had suffered
a heart attack and they needed the money. Director Terence Young, who
had once turned her down on the grounds that she "looked like
she smelled of soap", offered her either Miss Moneypenny or
Bond's girlfriend, Sylvia Trench, but she was uncomfortable with the
idea of a revealing scene outlined in the screenplay. The role as M's
secretary guaranteed just two days' work at a rate of £100 per
day; Maxwell supplied her own clothes for the filming.
In 1967, Maxwell angered
Sean Connery by appearing in the Italian spy spoof Operation Kid
Brother with his brother, Neil, and Bernard Lee (who played M). The
same year, she portrayed Moneypenny in a made-for-TV special, Welcome
to Japan, Mr. Bond, in which she co-starred with Abbe Lane, where the
two performed a memorable dance number wearing purple fez and white
feathered boas, as well as silver and purple evening gowns created by
designer Oleg Cassini.
In 1971, the role of
Moneypenny was nearly re-cast after Maxwell demanded a pay raise for
Diamonds Are Forever; Moneypenny's undercover policewoman's cap
disguises the hair Maxwell had already dyed in preparation for
another part. However, she stayed on as Moneypenny when her former
classmate, Roger Moore, assumed the role of 007 in Live and Let Die
(1973). She reprised her character, weeping for the death of Bond, in
a short scene with Lee in the French comedy Bons baisers de Hong Kong (1975).
During the filming of A
View to a Kill (1985), her final appearance as Moneypenny, producer
Cubby Broccoli pointed out to her that they were the only cast or
crew members from Dr. No who had not yet left the series. Maxwell
asked that Moneypenny be killed off, but Broccoli re-cast the role
instead. Maxwell's final Bond film was also Moore's last outing; they
were succeeded by Caroline Bliss and Timothy Dalton for the final two
Bond films of the 1980s, The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to
According to author Tom
Lisanti, Maxwell's Moneypenny was seen as an "anchor", and
her flirtatious relationship with Bond provided the films with
dramatic realism and humanism; for Moneypenny, Bond was
"unobtainable", freeing the characters to make outrageous
sexual double entendres. At the same time, however, her character did
little to imbue the series with changing feminist notions.
In 1973, Maxwell's husband died, having
never fully recovered from his heart attack in the 1960s. Maxwell
subsequently returned to Canada, settling in Fort Erie, Ontario,
where she lived on Oakes Drive. She spent her summers at a cottage
outside of Espanola, Ontario, where she wrote a column for the
Toronto Sun under the pseudonym "Miss Moneypenny" and
became a businesswoman working in the textile industry. In 1994, she
returned to the UK once again to be nearer to her daughter, retiring
to a cottage in Frome, Somerset. Following surgery for bowel cancer
in 2001, Maxwell moved to Perth, Australia, to live with her son's
family. She remained there, working on her autobiography, until her
death at Fremantle Hospital on September 29th 2007.