August 22, 2004 by

Frank Maxwell


Categories: Actors, Hollywood, Military

Frank Maxwell, a veteran actor and the former president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), died on Aug. 4 from complications of heart disease. He was 87.
The New York City native earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. After graduation, he moved back home and started auditioning for acting jobs. Maxwell had already appeared in five Broadway productions when World War II began. Putting his show business career on hold, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces and became a B-29 navigator and bombardier. Despite this service to his country, Maxwell was later blacklisted during the McCarthy era.
Maxwell returned to Manhattan after the war and performed in several plays on- and off-Broadway, then moved to Hollywood in 1958. There he landed character roles in numerous films and made guest appearances on dozens of TV shows, including “Gunsmoke,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Perry Mason,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Rawhide,” “The Fugitive,” “Dr. Kildare,” “The Munsters,” “Bewitched,” “I Spy,” “Family Affair,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Barnaby Jones,” “The Rockford Files,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “M*A*S*H,” “All in the Family” and “Quincy.” He was best known for playing Dan Rooney on the ABC soap opera “General Hospital” (1978-1990).
Maxwell served as the national president of AFTRA, an 80,000-member union, from 1984 to 1989. His dedication and activism led to the development of the first health and retirement benefits for actors, broadcasters and recording artists.
Maxwell married twice, first to stage actress Maxine Stuart whom he divorced in 1963, and then to actress Rita Lynn. They remained together until her death in 1996.

7 Responses to Frank Maxwell

  1. Michael Perkins

    Frank and Maxine and Chris Ann lived next door to me for about three years. Me and my sister got to be good friends with all of them. I used to invite them over to my house to play act for them and we all had a grand time riding around in Maxine’s 1953 Chevrolet. Those were the days. It had been many years since I saw Frank, but I saw Maxine about a five years or so ago. My deapest simpathy to the family of Frank—-M.P.

  2. Harold Penn

    I was looking at Madame X, this evening.
    By chance, Frank was playing the part of a Doctor in the story.
    We met in the early sixtieas at a resteraunt
    called Frascatt’s.
    We had a few Martini’s together.
    Frank, bless your soul.


    Frank was my uncle and he was a good man unfortunitly due to circimstances in my life I lost contact with him and aunt Rita I tried findng them when I got older and when I remembered where they lived, they were on a trip to New York just one of the many I remember them taking as a child. I do miss them both alot.

  4. Alison Piazza

    Frank was my uncle. Maybe not blood related (his wife rita was my fathers sister) but because of the age differences in my family he was the closest to a grandfather as ive ever had. I miss him all the time and wish that him and rita had both lived longer.
    Frank was a wonderful person…he had so many exciting stories and it was always a pleasure to visit him. Rest in peace.

  5. Louis A. Piazza

    We knew Frank thru Rita. Rita was my first cousin in that her father, Ben, was my uncle. I met Frank on several occasions and thought a lot of him and Rita. After Rita died, I talked with Frank occasionally and wish now that I had called more often.

  6. Kristi (Debernarde) Matheson

    Frank & Rita were my grandparents as well. I lost touch with family towards the end but would love to get in contact again. Scott, Susie, Donna or any of the Piazza family, I would love to hear from you.

  7. Carla Debernarde

    Frank Maxwell was my father-in-law, and was always very nice to me whenever we got together at family functions.I was sad to hear he had passed away when his daughter Chris called us to tell us the news. My husband Arthur, was Franks step son, and the two of them had very different opinions on most everything, therefore as you can imagine, they were not close. Be that as it may, I don’t think that it was right to omit Arthur from the survivor list that was printed in the obituary, since he was part of Franks family, Frank being married to Arthurs mother, Rita. Whoever wrote it should be ashamed to have omitted a family member,no matter what his or her personal opinion is of Arthur.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *