Maxine Stuart, 94, a stage, film and TV actress whose long career included memorable guest appearances on “The Twilight Zone” and “The Wonder Years,” died Thursday of natural causes at her Beverly Hills home, according to her daughter, Chris Ann Maxwell.
Stuart began her career in New York theater and had a handful of small movie parts but was best known for her television work. In the early 1950s she appeared in dramatic anthology programs and was a regular on the soap opera “The Edge of Night.”
After moving to Los Angeles in the late ’50s with her then-husband, character actor Frank Maxwell, she was cast in a string of television series. In a 1960 episode of “The Twilight Zone” titled “Eye of the Beholder,” she portrayed a woman covered in bandages awaiting her 11th surgical operation to correct her appearance. Stuart played the part until the bandages were removed, when actress Donna Douglas was revealed at the end of the show.
Stuart received an Emmy nomination in 1989 for her guest role as a piano teacher in “The Wonder Years.” Her career stretched into the early 2000s and included parts on television in “Dr. Kildare,” “Peyton Place,” “Murphy Brown,” “NYPD Blue,” “Chicago Hope” and “Judging Amy.”
In 1993, she joined the CBS daytime drama “The Young and the Restless” for a story line about an older couple. William J. Bell, the show’s co-creator, cast Stuart after seeing her play an intern on “Murphy Brown.”
“She epitomized what I wanted – someone who brought a feistiness, a vitality and energy with her, who's gregarious and fun-loving,” Bell told The Times.
Stuart, then in her 70s, agreed that she still had plenty of energy. “When you’re 20, you think, ‘Oh, my God, if I ever get to be 30, I’ll be so old.’ But when you get to be this age, if you don’t look in the mirror – or see yourself on TV – you don’t know.”