Iowa History Daily: On August 3, 1921, actress and entertainer Marvel Marilyn Maxwell was born in Clarinda. A film and radio star of the 1940s and 1950s, Maxwell helped entertain the troops on Bob Hope’s USO tours during WWII and the Korean War.
After spending part of her childhood in Page County, Maxwell moved with her family to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she worked as an usher at the Rialto Theater before dropping out of high school as a sophomore. Joining an Indianapolis based band as a singer, Maxwell dove into a career in show business.
Catching on as a singer in Ted Weems’ big band during her later teenage years, she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1942. Appearing on “The Abbott and Costello Show” while breaking into film, Maxwell dropped her first name of ‘Marvel’ and started to just go by Marilyn.
Across the 1940s and 1950s, Maxwell shined in a variety of roles in films including Abbott and Costello’s “Lost in a Harem,” Bob Hope’s “The Lemon Drop Kid,” and Jerry Lewis’s “Rock-A-Bye-Baby.” While filming “The Lemon Drop Kid,” Maxwell and Hope recorded the popular Christmas song “Silver Bells” to national acclaim. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar