8 items from 2011
For decades, wherever she went, Jane Russell was the subject of dirty jokes. She knew this in advance, and she continued to meet fate and fortune with good humour and the kind of sassy grin that keeps hope alive in the guys who tell the smutty stories. But she must have known how in Hollywood innuendo can kill you as easily as the official diseases. After all, Russell had worked with one of the great victims of the dirty joke. In Howard Hawks's gorgeous and very witty Gentlemen Prefer Blondes she had done immaculate routines with Marilyn Monroe.
You can still feel Jane's sisterly care for Marilyn on screen, and Gentlemen was one of Marilyn's happier outings. Russell had opportunities to see how Marilyn might get to be a wreck one day, »
- David Thomson
The actor Jane Russell, who has died aged 89, was among the most desired women of the 20th century. She had great erotic force and great likability. Russell made just over 20 films, but only a handful of those are remembered: her first film, The Outlaw (1943); the comedy western The Paleface (1948), with Bob Hope; and the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), co-starring Marilyn Monroe.
The Outlaw, produced by Howard Hughes, was famously promoted with a series of publicity stills showing Russell lying in the hay, and bending down to pick up bales. The experience made her savvy about the vulgarity of the film industry. Her breasts were less covered and more fetishised, lit, photographed, designed and dreamed about than any woman's in the cinema had been until that time. Hughes even designed a special bra for her to wear in the film (although she »
- Mark Cousins
Silver screen siren Jane Russell passed away yesterday from a respiratory-related illness at her home in Santa Maria, California, aged 89. Born in Bemidji, Minnesota in 1921, Russell began her career as modelling before studying drama and acting with Max Reinhardt's Theatrical Worksho. She was quickly signed to a seven year contract by Howard Hughes. She made her motion picture debut in The Outlaw, which was initially denied release due to concerns over the film's highly sexualised content and finally received a limited release in 1943.
Russell was next seen in 1946's The Young Widow and she went on to star alongside a host of leading Hollywood men over the next few years including Bob Hope (The Paleface, 1948), Robert Mitchum (His Kind of Woman, 1951; Macao, 1952), Vincent Price (The Las Vegas Story, 1952), Frank Sinatra (Double Dynamite, 1951) and Clark Gable (The Tall Men, 1955), in addition to her collaboration with rising star Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 classic Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. »
'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' star Jane Russell has died at the age of 89. The World War II sex symbol died at her Californian home from a respiratory-related illness on Monday (28.02.11), her daughter-in-law Etta Waterfield confirmed. She said: "She always said, 'I'm going to die in the saddle, I'm not going to sit at home and become an old woman.' And that's exactly what she did, she died in the saddle." Although a huge movie star in the 1940s and 50s, her fame depleted by the late 60s and she last appeared in a film in 'Darker than Amber' in 1970. However, she did take a starring role in short lived TV series 'The Yellow Rose' in the early 1980s. Discussing why she left Hollywood, Jane once revealed she became "too old" to be a star. She said: "Why did I quit movies? Because I was getting too old! »
- Zoé Berger
'40s and '50s screen legend Jane Russell has passed away. The actress died Monday at her home in Santa Maria, Calif. from respiratory heart failure, her family told The Associated Press. She was 89. Russell starred in Howard Hughes' 'The Outlaw' in 1941. Staying true to her Western roots, her daughter-in-law, Etta Waterfield, told the AP, "She always said I’m going to die in the saddle, I'm not going to sit at home and become an old woman." Until recently, Russell remained active in her church and her foundation, World Adoption International Agency. She once shared the screen with another famous bombshell, Marilyn Monroe, in 1953's 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.' Russell referred to Marilyn as "a little sister," according to the AP. The actress retired from movies following 1970's 'Darker Than Amber.' Unable to bear children of her own which may have been due to an abortion in high school, »
Movie icon and 1950s pin-up Jane Russell has died at the age of 89.
The actress passed away from respiratory problems in her Santa Maria, California home on Monday.
Born in Bemidji, Minnesota in 1921, Russell started out as a receptionist and model in California. She signed a seven-year contract with movie mogul Howard Hughes after he discovered her working for his dentist.
The silver screen sex symbol became an overnight sensation in the mid-1940s when she starred in controversial movie The Outlaw, and she went on to play Calamity Jane opposite Bob Hope in The Paleface. Her most famous role was perhaps opposite Marilyn Monroe in 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
She failed to live up to her early promise as a movie star and became best known for her looks and figure. Russell was the number one pin-up girl of U.S. troops stationed overseas during World War Two and beyond, and her curvy figure earned her a 1970s spokesmodel role for Playtex bras. The Jane Russell Peaks in Alaska are named after her trademark breasts.
A vocal advocate of adoption, she also founded the Women's Adoption International Fund. Unable to have children of her own, Russell adopted three kids with her first husband Bob Waterfield. She was married three times. Her third husband, John Calvin Peoples, died in 1999.
Her second husband, Roger Barrett, died just three months after the couple wed in 1968.
A born-again Christian, the actress held weekly Bible study classes at her homes in Montecito and Santa Maria.
Her 1986 autobiography was called My Path and My Detours.
A service will be held to honour Russell at Pacific Christian Church in Santa Maria on 23 March. »
Jane Russell, the full-figured beauty who was one of Hollywood's leading sex symbols of the 1940s and '50s, died Monday at her home in Santa Maria, Calif. The Minnesota-born icon, 89, died of a respiratory-related illness, according to reports. Discovered by Howard Hughes in 1941, Russell shot to fame in the controversial Western The Outlaw, about Billy the Kid. The publicity stills were as scandalous as the film, with Russell sprawled in the hay wearing a tight, low-cut dress. Russell also hit movie gold in 1953, when she starred opposite Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Russell also tried a career in music, »
- Dahvi Shira
28 February 2011 4:31 PM, PST | IMDb News
Jane Russell, the voluptuous actress known for her roles in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The Outlaw along with her lifelong work as an advocate for adoption, passed away today in Santa Maria, CA. She was 89.
She was born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell on June 21, 1921 in Bemidji, Minnesota, the eldest of five children and the only daughter of Roy, an Army lieutenant and Geraldine, an actress. After her father's retirement from the Army and acceptance of a job in California, the family relocated to California's San Fernando Valley and eventually Burbank. She spent her teen years taking piano lessons (at her mother's insistence) and grew interested in theater, joining the drama club at Van Nuys High School and taking part in productions there. Her plan to become a designer after graduation was dashed after the death of her father, when she instead found a job as a secretary and receptionist in order to help support her family. At her mother's urging, she continued to hone her skills with training at stage director Max Reinhart's School of the Theatre, and made additional money working as model.
Her dramatic studies, combined with good fortune -- she was reportedly discovered while working at her receptionist job -- brought Jane to the attention of Howard Hughes, who signed her to a seven-year contract in 1940 after a protracted search for a woman to star in his next project, The Outlaw. The movie, which completed filming in February of 1941, was denied release because it violated the Hayes Office production codes for decency (they were unhappy with the display of Russell's cleavage). While Hughes and the Hayes Office negotiated cuts to the film, Russell was sent on an extensive tour to promote the unreleased picture; her tour, combined with provocative ads and photos promoting the film, put her on the national radar, and a limited release of the trimmed down film in 1943 (along with a wider release in 1946) made her a star. Also in 1943, Jane married Bob Waterfield, her high school sweetheart, who was the UCLA quarterback at the time and who would go on to become a Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback for the Cleveland Rams/Los Angeles Rams.
Jane's next film appearance was five years later, in 1946 with RKO's The Young Widow, which was the first time that she would be seen by most filmgoers, since The Outlaw was still tied up in Hayes Code violations. Her following films found her cast with some of the most popular leading men of the time -- Bob Hope in 1948's The Paleface; two incendiary pairings with Robert Mitchum (His Kind of Woman, Macao); co-starring with Victor Mature and Vincent Price in The Las Vegas Story, with Frank Sinatra and Groucho Marx in 1951's Double Dynamite, and with Clark Gable and Robert Ryan in The Tall Men (1955).
However, it would be her co-starring role with another popular leading lady of time for which she would be most commonly remembered: as Dorothy Shaw in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, with rising star Marilyn Monroe. The pair, cast as two showgirl best friends sailing to Paris to find husbands, redefined the musical with their comedic, overtly sensual stylings and became real-life friends in the process.
As Jane continued to expand her film resume through the mid 1950s, she and her husband Bob continued to build their life together. Unable to have children of their own, they chose to adopt, bringing Tracy and Thomas in 1952, and Robert in 1956, into their family. The adoption struggles the couple faced inspired Jane to found the World Adoption International Fund, which assisted in simplifying the adoption process for over 50,000 families as well as lobbying for the passage of 1953's Federal Orphan Adoption Bill and 1980's Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act.
Jane's already-busy offscreen life included time spent building her musical career; beside her albums 'Let's Put Out the Lights' and 'Jane Russell' and singles recorded with the likes of Frank Sinatra, she would also appear in her own solo nightclub act that toured around the world, and later formed a gospel group with Connie Haines and Beryl Davis that released a single that reached number 27 on the Billboard chart.
As her film roles became less notable - her last being in 1970's Darker Than Amber - Jane returned to the stage, where she appeared in both Broadway and regional productions, and also appeared in TV series The Yellow Rose and Hunter. Her marriage to Bob Waterfield ended in divorce in 1968; she was married twice more, to Roger Barrett (August-November 1968) and to John Calvin Peoples (from 1974 until his death in 1999).
She is survived by her children Tracy, Thomas and Robert. »
- Heather Campbell
8 items from 2011
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