MAXWELL, LOIS

Entry Source: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin


(February 14, 1927–September 29, 2007): Canadian leading lady who had a brief Hollywood career (1946–1948) before settling in England, where she portrayed M’s iconic secretary Miss Moneypenny in fourteen James Bond films. During one of his frequent visits to the set of Dr. No in 1962, author Ian Fleming said to Maxwell, “You know, Miss Maxwell, when I visualized Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond stories, I saw her as a tall, distinguished-looking woman with the most kissable lips in the world. You, my dear, are exactly the woman I visualized.”[1]

On Sean Connery, Maxwell told the Sydney Morning Herald, “I had first met Sean in Cubby’s office back at the beginning. He had that wonderful atmosphere of menace and moved, as Cubby said, like a panther. But he was still a poor young actor in rumpled corduroys who looked like he lived in a bedsit. By 1964, however, when we had the party at the Dorchester for the third film, Goldfinger,’ he was very much his own man.

“He had been taught everything from how to dress and where to buy his shirts to table manners. His Scottish accent was ironed out. In ‘Dr. No,’ they had to film his dialogue one line at a time, but not now. At the party I went over to get some caviar. Sean was eating the caviar with a big serving spoon. I said: ‘Sean, you mustn’t eat from that.’ He just turned round and said quite pleasantly: ‘I can have caviar whenever I want now.’

“I think he was serious. I don’t think he was drunk. I’ve never seen Sean drunk.”[2]

A native of Kitchener, Ontario, Maxwell made her credited feature debut as Julia Kane opposite Ronald Reagan and a teenage Shirley Temple in director Peter Godfrey’s drama That Hagen Girl (1947), a role that netted her a Golden Globe award for Most Promising Newcomer—Female. The following year, future Bond director Terence Young cast her in his mystery drama Corridor of Mirrors (1948), where she worked with future Bond player Christopher Lee. Among her many feature and television credits, Maxwell portrayed the wife of paranormal investigator Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) in director Robert Wise’s classic horror thriller The Haunting (1963).


[1] Lois Maxwell, interview by Mark Greenberg, Bondage 12 (1983).

[2] Lois Maxwell, interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, August 31, 1986, reprinted in “Moneypenny Dishes the Dirt,” MI6: The Home of James Bond 007, August 31, 2016, https://www.mi6-hq.com/sections/articles/history-lois-maxwell-retires1.