Marilyn Maxwell (August 3, 1921 – March 20, 1972), born Marvel Marilyn Maxwell, was an American actress and entertainer.
Noted for her blonde hair and sexually alluring persona, 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.
From the trailer for Stand By for Action
She started her professional entertaining career as a radio singer while still a teenager before signing with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1942 as a contract player. Among the programs in which she appeared was 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. 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.
Maxwell appeared twice as a singer in the second season (1955–1956) of NBC's The Jimmy Durante Show. On May 16, 1957, she guest starred on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.
In the 1961-1962 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.
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."
In 1972, Maxwell's 15-year-old son arrived home from school and found her dead at the age of fifty 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.