THE ADMIRED beauty of Maxine Audley's person was matched by a voice of equal beauty, writes John Tydeman. This is not to suggest that she was of the 'voice beautiful' school of acting but that the very tone and timbre of her voice and the perfect precision of her diction gave as much pleasure to audiences as did her physical presence on the stage or the screen.
These qualities, allied to a fine intelligence and an ability to create character with truth in a remarkably short space of time, made her a 'natural' for the medium of radio, not only as an actress but also as a reader, especially of poetry.
She made her first appearance live on air in The Painted Veil in 1941 and in the Forties and Fifties, days when drama on radio attracted even larger audiences than those current for it on television today, she was a star who featured frequently, largely in the classical repertoire with directors such as Val Gielgud, Raymond Raikes, Archie Campbell and RD Smith. She shone brightly in the works of Wilde, Shaw and Maugham as well as those of Shakespeare, Chekhov and Ibsen.
Only last year she was a leading member of the Radio Drama Company, which is probably the most democratic of all acting repertory companies since those on contract to it are required 'to play as cast'. One day an artist can be the leading lady, the next a character cameo as a charlady. Maxine relished this variety and the possibility of losing herself in roles for which she may never have been considered in any visual medium.
Most recently she was heard in the serialisation of The Forsyte Chronicles and Buddenbrooks and in May she entertained morning listeners with a brilliant tongue-in-cheek reading of Elinor Glyn's novel Three Weeks.