Tragic actress Julie Maxwell was a model student, says former school ahead of funeral

An image of Julie Maxwell shared by her former school, Hazelwood College
An image of Julie Maxwell shared by her former school, Hazelwood College
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Mourners will gather at Roselawn Crematorium this afternoon for the funeral of award-winning Belfast actress Julie Maxwell.

Ms Maxwell, who was from north Belfast, passed away suddenly after collapsing on a night out in the city on Saturday.

She was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

The 36-year-old stage and TV actress, a winner of the Kenneth Branagh Renaissance Award and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Individual Artist Award, starred in the BBC NI comedy show, Soft Border Patrol.

Her former school, Hazelwood Integrated College in north Belfast, yesterday issued a statement paying tribute to their “very active and talented” former pupil.

“Julie excelled in her GCSEs and A-levels, particularly in Music and Drama, and was renowned for her singing and dramatic skills,” a school spokesperson said.

“As a young student, she was involved in shows, productions, and the school choir. Her bubbly personality and her charismatic mannerisms made her a very popular girl.”

The spokesperson added: “Julie is fondly remembered as a ‘Pink Lady’ in our 1995 production of ‘Grease’.

“Julie was an ambassador for Hazelwood Integrated College throughout her school days. Her music teacher, Ms Beare, has fond memories of taking her to Denver in Colorado. Whilst there, Julie sang a variety of songs including ‘She Moved Through the Fair’, to the American Consulate.

“May she rest in peace.”

Her agent Philip Young said: “She was a force of nature that brought happiness and laughter to everyone both on and off stage.”

Earlier this year she appeared in Lyric’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

At the time of her death she had been working as assistant director for the theatre’s upcoming version of Shirley Valentine.

The Lyric said: “It is absolutely heartbreaking to lose such an incredible young, vibrant talent.”

Ms Maxwell is survived by her husband Rhodri, parents Jim and Elaine and sister Stacey.

Her remains will leave the family home on the Limestone Road at noon for the funeral service at Roselawn at 1pm.

Her family has asked for donations in lieu of flowers to Kabosh Theatre Company care of Melville Morgan Funeral Directors, York Road, Belfast.