Blog post by Tina Winterlik
I always liked Jane Russell, I remember the pretty costumes she wore and she was a good singer and funny and had a tough- don't mess with me image.
R.I.P. Jane, you were a beautiful actress and person.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Jane Russell, the busty brunette who shot to fame as the sexy star of Howard Hughes' 1941 Western "The Outlaw," died Monday of respiratory failure, her family said. She was 89.
Although Russell largely retired from Hollywood after her final film, 1970's "Darker Than Amber," she had remained active in her church, with charitable organizations and with a local singing group until her health began to decline just a couple weeks ago, said her daughter-in-law, Etta Waterfield. She died at her home in Santa Maria.
"She always said I'm going to die in the saddle, I'm not going to sit at home and become an old woman," Waterfield told The Associated Press. "And that's exactly what she did, she died in the saddle." http://ca.news.yahoo.com/jane-russell-stunning-star-outlaw-other-1940s-1950s-20110228-164028-101.html
Jane Russell (born in 1921) is an American actress and sex symbol. She was born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell in Bemidji, Minnesota. She modeled early for photographers and studied drama and acting with Max Reinhardt's Theatrical Workshop and with famed Russian actress Maria Ouspenskaya.
In 1940, Russell was signed to a seven year contract by millionaire Howard Hughes and made her motion picture debut in "The Outlaw" (1943). Together with Lana Turner, Russell personified the sensuously contoured sweater girl look.
Though her early movies did little to show her true acting abilities, they helped parlay her into a career portraying smart, often cynical, tough "broads", with a wisecracking attitude.
In 1947, Russell attempted to launch a musical career, recording a single with the Kay Kyser Orchestra, "As Long As I Live".
She went on to perform with proficiency in an assortment of roles, which includes playing Calamity Jane in "The Paleface" (1948) and in "Son of Paleface" (1952).
Russell was at the height of her wry comedic talents with her performance as Dorothy Shaw in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953) opposite Marilyn Monroe, which is one of her most memorable roles. It was an excellent movie and showed her as a talented actress.
She appeared in two movies opposite Robert Mitchum, "His Kind of Woman" (1951) and "Macao" (1952). Other co-stars include Frank Sinatra and Groucho Marx in the comedy "Double Dynamite" (1951), Victor Mature, Vincent Price and Hoagy Carmichael in "The Las Vegas Story" (1952), Jeff Chandler in "Foxfire" (1955) and Clark Gable and Robert Ryan in "The Tall Men" (1955).
She then played in "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes" (1955), "The King and Four Queens" (1956) starring Clark Gable and Eleanor Parker, "Run for the Sun" (1956) and "The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown" (1957).
Her performances in "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes", opposite Jeanne Crain, and in the drama "The Revolt of Mamie Stover" (1956) displayed her fine acting ability.
In October 1957, she debuted in a successful solo nightclub act at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. She also fulfilled later engagements in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America and Europe.
In 1971, she starred in the musical drama "Company on Broadway", replacing Elaine Stritch.
She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood. Though her screen image was that of a sex goddess, her private life lacked the sensation and scandal that followed other actresses of the time, such as Lana Turner.
At the height of her career, Russell started the "Hollywood Christian Group", a weekly Bible study at her home for Christians in the movie business that was attended by some of the biggest names.
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In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell
June 21, 1921 (1921-06-21) (age 89)
Died February 28, 2011(2011-02-28) (aged 89)
Santa Maria, California
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 1943–86
In 1940, Russell was signed to a seven-year contract by film mogul Howard Hughes and made her motion picture debut in The Outlaw (1943), a story about Billy the Kid that went to great lengths to showcase her voluptuous figure.
Although the movie was completed in 1941, it was released for a limited showing two years later. There were problems with the censorship of the production code over the way her ample cleavage was displayed.
When the movie was finally passed, it had a general release in 1946.
During that time, she was kept busy doing publicity and became known nationally. Contrary to countless incorrect reports in the media since the release of The Outlaw, Russell did not wear the specially designed underwire bra (the first of its kind) that Howard Hughes constructed for the film.
According to Jane's 1988 autobiography, she was given the bra, decided it had a mediocre fit, and wore her own bra on the film set with the straps pulled down.
With measurements of 38D-24-36 and standing 5'7" she was more statuesque than most of her contemporaries. Aside from thousands of quips from radio comedians, including Bob Hope, who once introduced her as "the two and only Jane Russell" and "Culture is the ability to describe Jane Russell without moving your hands", the photo of her on a haystack was a popular pin-up with servicemen during World War II.
|Actresses Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell putting signatures, hand and foot prints in cement at Grauman's Theater, 1953|
Publication date: June 27, 1953
She performed in an assortment of movie roles, which included Calamity Jane, opposite Bob Hope in The Paleface (1948) on loan out to Paramount, and Mike "the Torch" Delroy opposite Hope in another western comedy, Son of Paleface (1952), again at Paramount. Russell was Dorothy Shaw in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) opposite Marilyn Monroe for 20th Century Fox, which was well-received.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a 1953 film adaptation of the 1949 stage musical, released by 20th Century Fox, directed by Howard Hawks and starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, with Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, Taylor Holmes, and Norma Varden in supporting roles.
The screenplay by Charles Lederer is augmented by the music of songwriting teams Hoagy Carmichael & Harold Adamson and Jule Styne & Leo Robin. The songs by Styne and Robin are from the Broadway show, while the songs by Carmichael and Adamson were written especially for the film.
The movie is filled with comedic gags and musical numbers.
While Russell's down-to-earth, sharp wit has been noted by most critics, it is Monroe's turn as the gold-digging Lorelei Lee for which the film is often remembered. Monroe's rendition of the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" is considered an iconic performance that has been copied by the likes of Madonna, Geri Haliwell, Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman, Anna Nicole Smith and Christina Aguilera.
Jane Russell and Howard Hughes Relationship
The Outlaw (1943), completed in 1941, which featured Jane Russell, also received considerable attention from industry censors, this time owing to Russell's revealing costumes. Hughes designed a special bra for his leading lady, although Russell decided against wearing the bra because of a mediocre fit.
Hughes' wife returned to Houston in 1929 and filed for divorce.
Hughes dated many famous women, including Billie Dove, Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Gene Tierney. He also proposed to Joan Fontaine several times, according to her autobiography No Bed of Roses. Bessie Love was a mistress during his first marriage. Jean Harlow accompanied him to the premiere of Hell's Angels, but Noah Dietrich wrote many years later that the relationship was strictly professional—Hughes personally disliked Harlow.
In his 1971 book, Howard: The Amazing Mr. Hughes, Dietrich said that Hughes genuinely liked and respected Jane Russell but never sought romantic involvement with her.
According to Russell's autobiography, however, Hughes once tried to bed her after a party. Russell (who was married at the time) refused him and Hughes promised it would never happen again.
The two maintained a professional and private friendship for many years.
You can see lots of photos of Jane Russell here at IMDB - the Internet Movie DataBase
Silver Screen Pin-up Jane Russell Dead At 89
This links to a Really Great Video, but I can't embed it, so you'll have to watch it on youtube