Magazine article Variety

REMEMBERED: Maxine Powell

Magazine article Variety

REMEMBERED: Maxine Powell

Article excerpt

With herfinishing school, Motown's mistress of poise was key to the label's success

axine Powell, who was responsible for developing the charm, grace and style of Motown Records' artists during the Detroit label's 1960s heyday, died Oct. 14 of natural causes in Southfield, Mich. She was 98.

Powell didn't sing or write songs, but those associated with Motown say she was as essential to the label's operations as any performer or producer, as director of the company's Artists Development Dept., also known as "Motown's Finishing School." Through it, she taught many artists - including Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Jackson Five and the Suprêmes - how they should carry themselves, treat people and dress.

Motown founder Berry Gordy said the training school was the only one of its kind offered at any record label.

"She brought something to Motown that no other record company had," Gordy said in a statement. "She was a star in her own right - an original. She will always be remembered for her style and class, and she instilled that into the Motown artists by teaching them how to walk, talk and even think with class. …

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