Maxine Brown Russell, the vivacious entertainer, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, and friend passed today at Bowman Hospice in Little Rock, Arkansas from complications of heart and kidney disease at the age of 87. Her family was by her side.
“Maxine Brown’s voice joined in harmony with brother Jim Ed and sister Bonnie to create the smoothest vocal blend in country music history. Offstage, Maxine was an absolute delight. She was reverent about things worth revering, and riotously irreverent about every other thing. In song and in conversation, Maxine Brown made people smile. The world is a duller place without her.” -Kyle Young, CEO, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Born April 27, 1931 in Campti, Louisiana, Russell was predeceased by her parents, Floyd and Birdie Brown, sisters Bonnie Ring and Norma Sullivan, brothers Jim Ed Brown and Raymond Brown, and her son, Tommy H. Russell, Jr. She is survived by two children, Jimmy Russell (Mary) and Alicia Short (Curtis), six grandchildren (Caitlin, Daniel, Meredith, Eva, Patrick, and Katherine), and two great-grandchildren (Atlas and Aina).
As one-third of the popular Country trio The Browns, Maxine enjoyed a lengthy career that spanned the 1950s and ’60s. The group released multiple “million-sellers,” including “The Three Bells,” “The Old Lamplighter,” “Scarlet Ribbons,” and “Send Me The Pillow You Dream On.” As a songwriter, her first taste of success came with The Browns’ release of “Looking Back To See.”
Maxine was the “cut up” of the globally-renowned trio, and always the life of the party during the group’s tours, including jaunts in the U.K and Japan. The Browns joined The Grand Ole Opry in 1963 and appeared on hit television shows of the day, including: The Ed Sullivan Show, The Arthur Murray Show, The Perry Como Show, American Bandstand with Dick Clark, and The Jerry Lewis Show.
In 2012, Russell was awarded the Ella Dicky Literary Award for her 2005 autobiography, Looking Back To See. The Browns were proud members of The Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame, The Arkansas Walkway of Stars, The Missouri Walkway of Stars, and recipient of aLifetime Achievement Award from The Arkansas Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2015, The Browns were inducted into the prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame.
Funeral services are being planned and will be announced soon.
[Featured Photo: Country Music Hall of Fame member Maxine Brown Russell (right) of the Country Music trio The Browns passed away today, Jan. 21, 2019, at the age of 87. (l-r): Becky Brown, wife of Jim Ed Brown; Bonnie Brown Ring and Maxine Brown Russell. Photo credit: John Russell/CMA]