Next week Maud Adams will star on CBS in a thriller, The Hostage Tower. She won a coveted role opposite Vanessa Redgrave in the controversial and not yet scheduled CBS movie about Auschwitz, Playing for Time. Her eighth feature film, Laura, a European love story, was released in Paris last year, and she’s now filming Tattoo opposite Bruce Dern in New York. She is the hot Hollywood property she hoped she would become when she quit modeling two years ago.
She might even be as content as the cosmetic ads made her look, in fact, if her live-out lover, Reid Smith, were doing better. His first major TV role was in The Chisholms, starring Robert Preston, which was shelved a year ago by CBS. “We got killed by CHiPs” Smith says. Although the series is likely to be picked up this fall, Smith is nonetheless foraging for a new property.
Meanwhile he has more than $10 million in real estate to fall back on. For two years Adams, 35, and Smith, 30, have shared almost everything but the same premises—and it wasn’t for lack of choice. Reid, a speculator before he was an actor, owns seven houses and, under his tutelage, Maud has invested in another two. They have the same manager, lawyer and accountant, and Reid’s mother, June, is Maud’s secretary. Yet Reid says, “Living together is the same as getting married, and I’m not grown up enough to settle down.” Maud adds, “We spend as much time with each other as any couple who live together and we usually end up in the same bed. I just need some time and a place where I can be on my own.”
Reid has always enjoyed his freedom. Driving in Beverly Hills one Sunday morning in 1976, when he was known only as a real estate sharpie, he passed Jaclyn Smith, on her way to church. (That was pre-Angel.) Jackie stiff-armed his self-introduction but Reid bought a house down the road from hers. They became close friends as well as neighbors. “I had to pay to get her phone number,” he recalls. “I really loved her, but after a year and a half she left me for Dennis Cole and broke my heart.”
In 1978, intrigued by photographs of Maud in magazines, he contrived to meet her at a casting call. “I said, ‘Hi, don’t you remember me?’ ” he recalls. “We met at Eileen Ford’s [Maud’s New York modeling agent]. She was so sweet she couldn’t say, ‘No, creepo,’ so she said, ‘Oh well, uh, yeah!’ When I found out she was buying a house I said, ‘Son of a gun! I can help you.’ ”
They became platonic house hunters, since Maud was romantically involved with an aspiring actor. When that ended Reid stepped in. On one date he picked her up in a black Rolls convertible and, as they drove through town, he noticed that she had slid down into the seat. “She was trying to hide,” he laughs. “She had a Volkswagen and she thought, ‘How pretentious.’ ” He sold the Rolls.
Yet Maud was no stranger to opulence. As a New York model she earned up to $50,000 a commercial. “Modeling is a great beginning,” she says, “but it’s also a kind of trap if you have any ambition or a mind that needs to be stimulated. I wanted more of a challenge.”
She found it in Hollywood, among throngs of models longing to be actresses. “I went through a terrible identity crisis,” she says. “I was used to being in such demand, and then I would go to a reading and they would all but ask me if I could read.”
As a nouveau riche real estate mogul, Smith was greeted with similar skepticism in Hollywood. In pre-production days on the Chisholms set, he compensated by being “so intense” crew members thought he was snubbing them, and the issue almost led to a fistfight. In an earlier series produced by Jack Webb, Chase, Smith was fired because he would not take the part seriously. “I quit my acting lessons, quit trying to learn,” he rues. “I had a great opportunity, and I blew it.”
A native of Burbank, Reid was the son of a part-time model and TV announcer, Verne Smith, who introduced The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet for 13 years. When Reid was 5, his father left, and by 9 the boy was working to help support his mother and three sisters. Later he dreamed of becoming a gangster, but changed his mind after trying to steal a tire landed him in jail at 15. He became a businessman instead: “I was always thinking of ways to beat the system, to play the Monopoly game and win.”
He put himself through UCLA, majoring in economics and TV production, with money from TV commercials and selling used cars. He invested his first $7,000 in a $48,000 home and resold it for $60,000. He now counts six cars in his garages—including a $69,000 Cobra (“The noise it makes is greater than the sound of making love”). He also dabbles in Appaloosa horses, art and antiques.
Maud Wikstrom grew up in Lulea, Sweden, a port on the Baltic Sea near the Arctic Circle. Her father is a comptroller, her mother a government tax inspector. Maud was a speed skater and a model in local fashion shows but planned a career as an interpreter. (She’s fluent in five languages.) Then a photographer submitted her picture to a beauty contest and Maud, at 17, moved to Stockholm as a model.
At 21 she married British advertising executive Roy Adams in Paris and they moved to New York, where he tried to launch himself as a photographer. “I was more successful than Roy,” she says, “and it ultimately broke up our marriage.” She and Adams had been married seven years when they divorced in 1975.
Adams made her film debut in 1971 in The Christian Licorice Store, then enrolled in acting classes. Her most memorable early role was as a second-string Bond girl (to countrywoman and friend Britt Ekland) in The Man with the Golden Gun in 1975.
She was fired from The Pink Panther Strikes Again when she refused to bare her chest. “I’m very happy with my boobs,” she said, “but they are not for the screen.” After coasting through losers like Rollerball and Killer Force, she fled to a 200-year-old Connecticut farm. “I was 29, lost—and absolutely alone for the first time in my life,” she remembers. “The first week, I sat up all night wondering, ‘What have I done?’ ” She spent her days reading, meditating and listening to Mozart and went to New York for bookings only occasionally. A year later she emerged. “I knew the only thing that really mattered was acting,” she recalls, “and I thought, ‘I will put all my energies into it.’ ”
She returned to L.A., enrolled in more classes and began landing substantive roles. (Of Vanessa Redgrave, she says, “She has a very single-minded attitude and used to pass out Marxist papers in makeup, but in front of the camera she was wonderful.”) Now Maud is out of town on location often as not. Tattoo will take three months. “It’s hard to be away from Reid,” she admits, “but we talk every day and he comes for weekends whenever he can.” (His fare is written into Maud’s contract.)
Meanwhile Smith is taking tennis lessons from pal Sonny Bono. The two men are also working on a sitcom pilot in which they hope to star. “Reid has this naive optimism,” says Sonny. “He’s not afraid to be a little boy.” Smith also has his property to oversee, as well as construction of his own $3.5 million Moroccan mansion with a wraparound view of Beverly Hills.
Is there any chance Maud will be persuaded to leave her own house nearby and move in? “I love the thought of getting married,” says Smith, “but right now there’s too much going on.” Adams agrees. “We’re both surprised things have worked out as well as they have,” she observes. “It seems perfect the way it is.”