Violet Maxine Hecht
|Also Known As:||"Maxine Audley"|
|Birthplace:||London, Greater London, UK|
|Death:||Died in London, UK|
|Managed by:||Geoffrey Pearl|
About Maxine Hecht
<The Times 25 July, 1992>
Maxine Audley, actress, died on July 23 aged 69. She was born in London on April 29, 1923.
MAXINE Audley was a classical actress in the grand manner whose career peaked at Stratford and the Old Vic in the late 1940s and early 1950s, In films, on television and on radio, however, she continued to be a familiar performer, her elegant poise and thrilling, deep voice epitomising glamour and sophistication or simply mink-smooth sex-appeal.
She had a finely sculpted beauty which, as she grew older, enabled her to graduate from ingenue roles to glamorous wicked queens, seductresses and vamps.
Although theatre was her greatest love she appeared frequently in recent years in such television series as "Lovejoy", "Bergerac", and "Casualty" and was Mrs Marlowe in the award winning "Prime Suspect".
In the immediate postwar period she worked frequently on tours with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, who were her friends. Maxine Audley was educated at Westonhirt and then drama schools in London and New York.
She made her stage debut at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park on July 27, 1940, walking on in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and then after two years in regional repertory companies returned to the Park and that play as Hippolyta for the 1942 season, where she also played Nerissa in "The Merchant of Venice". Wartime troop tours then occupied her until 1945, when she first joined an Old Vic tour as Raine in "Arms and the Man".
Two more years in repertory at Salisbury and Nottingham followed, before she made her Stratford debut in 1949 as Emilia in "Othello". Her long association with the Oliviers started in 1951 when they invited her to join them in their double season at the St James's of "Antony and Cleopatra" and "Caesar and Cleopatra", in both of which she played Charmian, a role which then took her with that company to Broadway in 1952.
The following year she joined the Bristol Old Vic for a further repertory season and then, after a handful of rather brief London runs often in continental pieces, she rejoined the Oliviers for their 1955 season at Stratford playing Olivia in "Twelfth Night". Lady Macduff in "Macbeth" and Tamora, the archetypal wicked queen in "Titus and Andronicus". This last role took her on a long world tour during which she was much praised, not only for her work on stage but also for her ability backstage to control an increasing temperamental and unstable Vivien Leigh.
1958 found her back in the West End for a thriller, "Speaking of Murder", and after two boulevard comedies she rejoined the Old Vic in the 1960-61 season for Lady Macbeth and Constance in "King John". A year later she joined the brand new Royal Shakespeare Company at the Aldwych for Christopher Fry's "Curtmantle", staying with the RSC for Helen in "Troilus and Cressida". In a comparatively rare appearance in a new play, she then appeared as Maggie in "The Formation Dancers" before playing opposite Nigel Patrick in the 1965 revival of Coward's "Present Laughter".
From the 1970s most of her major performances were seen away from central London: a Blanch duBois at Leeds in 1971, Flora Goforth in another Tennessee Williams, "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Any More" at Watford in 1974, and Mrs Marwood in "Way of the World" at Guildford in 1975.
Her many films included "The Barrets of Wimpole Street" (1956), "A King in New York" (1957) and "House of Cards" (1968). A keen photographer and accomplished player of the spinet, Maxine Audley was married four times.