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Jane Russell –

_Jane-Russell-top-pic-the-revolt-of-mamie-stover Russell in THE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER.

About Jane Russell (1921 – 2011)

"The girl with the summer-hot lips and the winter-cold heart."
"There are two good reasons why men go to see her. Those are enough."

– Howard Hughes, as quoted in Robert Hale's "The Humour of Sex"

Jane Russell was born on June 21, 1921, in Bemidji, Minnesota. Born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell, Jane tried on many "stage names". She has also been credited as Connie Haines, and Beryl Davis Trio, before deciding on Jane Russell as her herald to celebrity.

Daughter of a U.S. lieutenant father, Jane was one of five Russell children, and beside her mother, the only other Russell girl. It seems that Jane was to take after her mother, whose love of drama rubbed off on the young Jane at an early age. After relocating from Canada to California, Jane found herself enrolling in her Van Nuys High School drama department, participating in several high school play productions.

After high school, Jane took menial jobs, finding work as a model because of her curvaceous figure. Her earnings often went to supporting her family after the death of her father. Eventually, Russell's mother urged her to enroll in drama school, hoping she would find a way to support herself on her artistic merit. Jane studied with Max Reinhardt's Theatrical Workshop, and with Maria Ouspenska, a well-known and admired acting coach.

Jane's "big break," however, allegedly came while working as a receptionist at a doctor’s office, where the notorious womanizer, Howard Hughes, purportedly "discovered" her. He didn't succeed in getting her into his bed, but he did get her into his movies in parts that showcased her physical features, not her acting ability.

Consequently, Jane’s first role was as the foxy "Rio," starring opposite Jack Beutel; (playing Billy the Kid), in the Howard Hughes film, THE OUTLAW; (1943). Ironically, because of the film's brazen portrayal of Jane’s assets;(her considerable cleavage), the film was not released to the public until 1946, whereupon it was an instant success at the box office; Russell and her buxom figure soon became famous.

Russell said, "Sex appeal is good—but not in bad taste. Then it's ugly. I don't think a star has any business posing in a vulgar way. I've seen plenty of pin-up pictures that have sex appeal, interest, and allure, but they're not vulgar. They have a little art to them."

During her career, Russell signed a seven year contract with Hughes, quickly becoming somewhat of a "Hugh's Girl." However, it seems most of Jane's roles in Hugh’s films were more aesthetic than artistic. True to form and his outlook on women, Hughes continued to concentrate on Russell’s figure, rather than her acting abilities.

Nonetheless, the curvaceous starlet quickly became a pinup favorite shortly thereafter. Magazines adorned their covers and spreads with tempting pictures of the buxom beauty. Still, it is films like GENTLEMEN MARRY BRUNETTES (1955) that really showcase the artist behind Russell's aesthetic exterior.

At 5'7”, Russell had a statuesque appearance that did not go unnoticed by many an admirer. Throughout her career, her measurements were reportedly an astounding 38D-25-26; (Source: Celebrity Magazine)!

Consequently, her curves were recognized as a geographical landmark, literally; the "Jane Russell Peaks" in Alaska attest to the notoriety Russell's figure portended at the “peak” (pun aside) of her stardom. Rumor has it that Russell's peaks also have been honored as the name of two famous battle hills in the Korean War by fellow American troops.

Despite her sexy status, Jane Russell was a "born again" Christian, and was known to lead many a Bible study. Russell was also an avowed conservative Republican. When speaking of her views, she once stated:

"My son said, 'Mother you can't say the word, bigot, because that has to do with nationalities and things.' I said, 'No darling, it's a verb. It means I can't stand these people who are trying to take the Ten Commandments off the wall, take prayer out of school and take prayer out of football games.' It's too ridiculous. The Lord put this country together or we wouldn't be like we are."

Definitive of American "iconoclasm," Russell has been repeatedly portrayed in American historiographic or biographic films, such as the 1977 TV movie, THE AMAZING HOWARD HUGHES; NORMA JEAN & MARILYN (1966). A portrayal of Jane Russell was in the 2001 TV mini-series, BLONDE, where Russell was portrayed by actress Renee Henderson.

Russell has also been known to dabble in advertisements, posing as a spokeswoman for Playtex bras in the 1970s/80s and as a Lustre Crème’s shampoo model in the early 1950s.

Russell married her first husband and high school sweetheart, Los Angeles Ram quarterback Bob Waterfield, on April 24th, 1943. Waterfield also went on to become an actor, appearing in films like JUNGLE MANHUNT and TRIPLE THREAT.

In 1955, the husband-wife acting duo collaborated to form the Russ-Field Production Company, under which films such as GENTLEMEN MARRY BRUNETTES (1955);(among one of Russell’s best works), and THE KING AND FOUR QUEENS (1956) were produced. Together, Bob and Jane adopted three children; two daughters and one son.

Of all of her performances, it was Jane's role in the 1953, FOX Studio classic GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES that really made Russell an American starlet.

In 1954, Russel formed a Gospel quartet with three other singers, callin themselves the Hollywood Christian Group. Throughout her life, she continued to make Gospel and secular recordings, finding a second career in music.

This led to a successful nightclub act in Las Vegas, and being cast in musicals on the stage, such as BELLS ARE RINGING; a production that was seen at the Westchester Town House in Yonkers, New York.

Jane made her Broadway stage debut in the 1971 productions of the musical drama, COMPANY.

A project that was dear to Jane's heart was her self-produced 2006 musical, THE SWINGING FORTIES, which was a bi-monthly production at her local Radisson Hotel.

Because of a botched abortion that nearly killed her when she was 18, Jane was unable to have children. Jane became vigorously pro-life. Together, Bob and Jane adopted three children; two daughters and one son.

Russell not only adopted children, but has also been involved extensively in American adoption programs, launching the World Adoption International Fund program. To date, the organization has placed over 50,000+ children in adoptive homes.

Russell also helped influence the passing of the 1953 Federal Orphan Adoption Amendment, which enabled overseas-born children of Americans to be viable candidates for adoption in the States.

In 1989, the Women's International Center recognized Russell for her selfless contributions to this field of work, awarding her with a Living Legacy Award.

After the dissolution of her marriage to Waterfield in 1968, Russell went on to marry two additional times. Her second marriage to Roger Barrett lasted only several months, because Barrett died of a heart attack only two months after their marriage. Her final marriage to John Calvin Peoples, in 1974, lasted until his death in 1999. Russell did not remarry again.

Jane Russell died on February 28th, 2011 from Respiratory Failure in Santa Monica, Calif. at the age of 89.

Jane Russell's notable movie credits include...


Jane Russell in Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955)... top picture with Scott Brady and Rudy Vallee... middle picture with Jeanne Crain... bottom picture with Scott Brady.
Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)... second picture with Marilyn Monroe... fourth picture with Marilyn Monroe and Tommy Noonan... with Marilyn Monroe in pictures five through eight.
Russell in His Kind of Woman (1951)... top two pictures with Robert Mitchum... bottom picture with Robert Mitchum and Vincent Price.
Russell in Hot Blood (1956)... middle and
bottom pictures with Cornel Wilde.
With Dana Andrews in Johnny Reno (1966).
In Macao (1952)... top picture with Robert Mitchum.
Russell in Montana Belle (1952).
In The Paleface (1948)... bottom picture with Bob Hope.
In Son of Paleface (1952)...
with Bob Hope in pictures two and three.
Russell in The French Line (1954).
In The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (1957)... third picture
with Keenan Wynn... bottom picture with Ralph Meeker.
With Victor Mature in The Las Vegas Story (1952).
As the headline-grabbing sex object in Howard Hughes's The
Outlaw (1943)... second and seventh pictures with Jack Buetel.
In The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956)...
with Richard Egan in pictures five and six.
In The Tall Men (1955)... with Clark Cable in first
and second pictures... with Robert Ryan in third picture.
With Richard Egan in Underwater! (1955).
Jane Russell and Louis Hayward in Young Widow (1946).