( b. Jun 28, 1918 Deal, New Jersey, USA - d. Jun 06, 2013 Beverly Hills, California, USA ) Female
Maxine Stuart's stage, film and television career spanned more than six decades, including a recurring role on the soap opera "The Edge of Night" and a guest spot on a memorable episode of "The Twilight Zone." But she was equally well known to readers of Helene Hanff's nonfiction books "84, Charing Cross Road" and "Underfoot in Show Business" as Ms. Hanff's deliciously dizzy sidekick in their attempts to make it on Broadway in the 1930s and '40s.
The warm, adventurous, impecunious friendship of the two young women began in the late 1930s in the backstage ladies' room of the Morosco Theater, after Ms. Hanff saw one of the many flops in which Ms. Stuart seemed condemned to appear.
Her description of Ms. Stuart's daily life -- the voice and diction lessons (which entailed screaming "Oh, NO!" at top volume in the bathroom of her parents' apartment); the audition rounds; the elation of being cast; the deflation of closing -- is a window onto the existence of a working, and sometimes out-of-work, actor in the years before television devoured Broadway.
In Ms. Stuart's resourceful hands, even Broadway cost nothing. Several nights a week, the two friends, wearing no coats, would arrive at a theater of their choice in time for the Act 1 intermission. On the sidewalk, they mingled with audience members who had gone outside to smoke. (Even in the coldest weather, no self-respecting New York theatergoer on a cigarette break bothered with a coat.) Drifting inside, the young women made for the best seats without coats on them and sat down. They saw many plays -- minus the first acts -- and caught many colds.
Her film credits include "Days of Wine and Roses" (1962) and "Private Benjamin" (1980). On television, she portrayed the stenographer Grace O'Keefe on "The Edge of Night."
Ms. Stuart was seen on dozens of other shows, including "Perry Mason," "Dr. Kildare," "Chicago Hope" and "The Wonder Years," for which she received a 1989 Emmy nomination as Kevin's piano teacher.
Source: The New York Times