January 2, 2017


Maxwell Reed (1919-1974) b. Larne, Ireland.

Maxwell Reed

Irish-born Maxwell Reed was on stage from 1943. This former seaman appeared in a number of crime dramas playing heroes, victimised males, and villains mostly trading on his film star good looks. Once a member of Rank’s Company of Youth, he is now a largely forgotten figure of British cinema except for some recognition as the first husband of Joan Collins. Collins claims she divorced him after he allegedly tried to sell her to an Arab sheik for £10,000. Some of his relatives strongly contested Collins’ story and claimed that she gave a highly exaggerated and unfair view of what was a failed marriage between a 19 year old girl and a man in his early 30′s. However, during the 40s, his handsome looks made him a favourite of British schoolgirls.

After stage experience and a number of unaccredited roles, Reed made his full screen debut in a support role in the David MacDonald directed Highland melodrama The Brothers (1947). Subsequently Reed appeared in a spate of nourish crime dramas; foremost amongst these were the Eric Portman led Dear Murderer (1947) and Daybreak (1948), in which Reed is sombrely impressive. After a support role in the impressive The Clouded Yellow (1951), and a lead role in The Dark Man (1951), Reed’s career became inconsistent and began to wane. He latterly appeared in American television series such as Captain David Grief (1960) or minor roles in The Notorious Landlady (1962) and Picture Mommy Dead (1966). Had he listened to his ex-wife and modelled his style on James Mason rather than Stewart Granger his film career might have been entirely different.

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