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Mary Maxine Stadele, 74

Antiques dealer, equestrian, occasional stage actor

1946 - 2020

Mary Maxine Stadele of Belle Mead died on December 17 due to complications from cancer. Affectionately known as “Max,” she died peacefully at home with her family by her side.


Maxine was born on January 22, 1946 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Anne and Russell Bennett and grew up in Glen Burnie, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. At age 16, she was discovered by television talent scouts, and was featured as a lead cast member on the famed Buddy Dean Show, which was the inspiration for the popular film Hairspray.


After leaving the show, she pursued a career in art and antiques. Maxine ultimately opened Ladylike Antiques in Flemington. She built a thriving business where collectors, interior decorators, and set designers sourced unique pieces.


When Maxine wasn’t scouring auction houses and estate sales, she enjoyed film and theater to such a degree that she decided to take up an acting career of her own. She appeared in numerous showcase plays with Group Productions in New York City. Her credits include Deus Ex Machina and Mona in the Morning.


Maxine also had a deep passion for horseback riding and charity work. She was a devoted fundraiser for a variety of institutions including the Matheny School, the United States Equestrian Team, and the Somerset Medical Center.


Maxine’s beloved husband of 53 years, Lee Stadele, died on December 26. She is survived by two sons, Owen Stadele and Bill Venizelos; their wives, Elizabeth Stadele and Cynthia Venizelos; grandchildren, Will, Virginia, Sullivan, and Weston; and her former husband, John Venizelos.


The family will receive visitors at Kimble Funeral Home in Princeton on Monday, January 25 from 9-11 am followed by funeral services at 11 am. Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery, Scotch Plains.


In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.■