Jennifer Helene Maxwell (September 3, 1941 – June 10, 1981) was an American film and television actress, probably best remembered for her role in the 1961 Elvis Presley film Blue Hawaii.
Maxwell was the daughter of a construction worker of Norwegian descent (the original name of Moksvold was changed when the family emigrated in 1949), and a distant relative of Marilyn Monroe.
Vincente Minnelli saw Maxwell when she was 16 years old and a high school student in Brooklyn. He had her do a screen test to possibly portray Frank Sinatra’s daughter in Some Came Running.
Maxwell played spoiled Ellie Corbett in Blue Hawaii, whom Elvis‘ character eventually tames by spanking her on the beach. She also appeared in Blue Denim (1959), Take Her, She’s Mine (1963, which starred James Stewart), and Shotgun Wedding (also 1963; Maxwell’s cinematic swan song, co-written by infamous filmmaker Edward D. Wood, Jr.). In addition to this she appeared in several television shows, including Father Knows Best (1959), The Twilight Zone (1961), Route 66 (1961), The Joey Bishop Show (1962), and 77 Sunset Strip (1963).
On April 17, 1959, the 18-year-old Maxwell married 24-year-old Paul W. Rapp, an assistant director. After separating in December 1961, they had a very public divorce and custody battle over their son Brian, with Maxwell winning after testifying about Rapp’s „extremely possessive and overly jealous“ nature. The divorce was granted January 29, 1963.
She later married Ervin M. Roeder, a successful attorney who was 21 years her senior, on February 15, 1970 in Los Angeles.
In the afternoon of June 10, 1981, shortly after their separation, Maxwell and Roeder were killed in the lobby of her Beverly Hills condo during a possibly botched robbery. She was 39 years old. The murders remain unsolved.