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Five-Time Tony Nominee Jan Maxwell Dies at 61

Maxwell appeared in 13 Broadway shows, including the acclaimed 2011 revival of Follies.

Jan Maxwell has died at the age of 61.
(© David Gordon)

Jan Maxwell, a beloved Broadway and off-Broadway stalwart who earned five Tony nominations over the course of her career, has died at the age of 61 after a battle with cancer.

Maxwell made her Broadway debut as a replacement in the musical City of Angels. As adept at musicals as she was with dramatic work, Maxwell was only the second actress in theater history to earn Tony nominations in all four acting categories, receiving the nods for her performances as Baroness Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Best Featured Actress in a Musical), Mrs. Lynch in Coram Boy (Best Featured Actress in a Play), Julie Cavendish in The Royal Family (Best Actress in a Play), Maria in Lend Me a Tenor (Best Featured Actress in a Play), and Phyllis Rogers Stone in Follies (Best Actress in a Musical). Earning another piece of theater history, her nominations for Lend Me a Tenor and The Royal Family, in two separate categories during the same season, made her only the fourth actress to earn two nominations in a single year.

Among her other Broadway credits were The Sound of Music, To Be or Not to Be, and Sixteen Wounded. Her substantial list of off-Broadway credits includes Alan Ayckbourn's House and Garden, Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane, and Anthony Giardina's The City of Conversation, which earned Maxwell 2015 Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League Award nominations. She received a Lortel for her performance in the play My Old Lady, as well as Drama Desks for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Royal Family.

Maxwell frequently worked with Potomac Theatre Project, and it was the company's 2015 production of Scenes From an Execution, in which she also appeared in 2008, that proved to be her last theatrical outing. During the drama's run, Maxwell announced her retirement from the stage.

Just as prolific on screen, Maxwell's many television credits include Billy & Billie, The Good Wife, Gossip Girl, Law & Order, and BrainDead. She read the audio editions of Mary Higgins Clark's Two Little Girls in Blue and No Place Like Home, among other audiobooks.

Maxwell is survived by her husband, the actor Robert Emmet Lunney, and their son, Will Maxwell-Lunney.


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