Maxwell Reed

Maxwell Reed (2 April 1919 16 August 1974) was a Northern Irish actor[1] who became a matinee idol in several British films during the 1940s and 1950s.[2]

Maxwell Reed
Autographed publicity still
Born(1919-04-02)2 April 1919
Died16 August 1974(1974-08-16) (aged 55)
London, England
Years active1946–1966
Joan Collins
(m. 1952; div. 1956)


His early years included work as a merchant seaman and minor stage experience in Ireland and London, before being auditioned by Rank and joining 'The Company of Youth’ at the age of 27.[3][4]

Film career

He made his film debut in The Years Between (1946) and then appeared in Gaiety George (1946).

He was promoted to leading man status for Daybreak (made in 1946, not released until 1948) and The Brothers (1947).[5] Reed followed it with Dear Murderer (1947), Night Beat (1947), Daughter of Darkness (1948), The Lost People (1949), Madness of the Heart (1949), and Blackout (1950).

Reed drifted back to supporting parts in The Clouded Yellow (1950). Reed later said "they tried to make me a star too soon."[6] He kept in lead roles for The Dark Man (1950) and There Is Another Sun (1951).

Reed moved to the U.S. to make Flame of Araby (1952). He returned to Britain for Sea Devils (1953) and The Square Ring (1953). After making Captain Phantom (1953) in Italy, he made Marilyn (1953), Before I Wake (1954) and The Brain Machine (1956). He had a small role in Helen of Troy (1956).


Reed moved to Hollywood in the late 1950s and portrayed the title role in the 1950s television series Captain David Grief, which was based on short stories by Jack London. He also made three films in the U.S. and appeared as a guest star in television series such as Bonanza, Perry Mason and Daniel Boone.[7]

Personal life

He was the first husband of actress Joan Collins, whom he married on 24 May 1952. The marriage ended in divorce in 1956. Joan Collins later said that Reed was a rapist, stating that he drugged her when they first met and she awoke to him raping her.[8]

He died from cancer aged 55, in London.[9]


Year Title Role Notes
1946The Years BetweenAmericanUK
1946Gaiety GeorgePrince (on stage)UK
1947Dear MurdererJimmy MartinUK
1947The BrothersFergus MacraeUK
1947Night BeatFelix FentonUK
1948Daughter of DarknessDanUK
1949The Lost PeoplePeterUK
1949Madness of the HeartJoseph RondoletUK
1950BlackoutChris PelleyUK
1950The Clouded YellowHickUK
1951The Dark ManThe Dark ManUK
1951There Is Another SunRacerUK
1951Flame of ArabyPrince MedinaUS
1953Sea DevilsRantaineUS / UK
1953The Square RingRick MartellUK
1953Capitan FantasmaDon Inigo da CostaItaly
1953MarilynTom PriceUK
1955The Brain MachineFrank SmithUK
1955Before I WakeMichael ElderUK
1956Helen of TroyAjaxUS / Italy
1961Pirates of TortugaFieldingUS
1962The Notorious LandladyMiles HardwickeUS
1966Picture Mommy DeadAnthony FlagmoreUS


  1. Wintle, Angela. "Joan Collins: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  2. Born: 2 April 1919, LarneDied: 31 October 1974. "Maxwell Reed | BFI". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  3. "The Forgotten Man: The Films of Maxwell Reed". 1 January 1970. Archived from the original on 30 July 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  4. "THE DEVIL'S IN THE STRINGS". The Longreach Leader. 25 (1573). Queensland, Australia. 7 March 1947. p. 27. Retrieved 7 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "BRITAIN MAKES A STAR..." The Argus (31, 277). Melbourne. 27 November 1946. p. 6 (Woman's Magazine). Retrieved 7 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "The King Has Been Kept Waiting, Too". Truth (3151). Sydney. 18 June 1950. p. 44. Retrieved 30 August 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "Maxwell Reed movies, photos, movie reviews, filmography, and biography". AllMovie. 16 August 1974. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  8. "Joan Collins drops bombshell: 'I married my rapist'". Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  9. Ivan, Little. "Riddle of the Larne actor who Joan Collins claims drugged and raped her". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
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