Do you remember Jane Russell?
Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was born on June 21, 1921, in Bemidji, Minnesota. Jane Russell was an American film actress, and was one of Hollywood’s leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s.
Her father had been a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and her mother an actress with a road troupe. Later the family moved to Southern California and her father worked as an office manager.
Jane was a tomboy as a little girl. She had four brothers: Tom, Kenny, James H. Russell and Wally Russell.
Russell’s mother arranged for her to take piano lessons. In addition to music, she was interested in drama and participated in stage productions at Van Nuys High School.
Her early ambition was to be a designer of some kind, until the death of her father in his mid-forties when she decided to work as a receptionist after graduation.
She also modeled for photographers and had urged her mother, to study drama with Max Reinhardt’s Theatrical Workshop.
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 not released until 1943 in a limited release.
Today’s YouTube video clip brought to you by user name Buffalo Film Festival, is the theatrical movie trailer of the television commercial that was played in 1943.
Did you know Jane Russell was turned down a contract with Paramount because she was “too tall” and 20th Century-Fox decided she was “too unphotogenic” before she was discovered by Hughes.
She was working as a receptionist in a dentist office, when she was discovered by Howard Hughes.
During Jane’s number “Ain’t There Anyone Here For Love” in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, she was accidentally knocked off the edge of the pool by the diving Olympic team and landed in the pool. This was unscripted, but was kept for the final release. Also, her brother Jamie appeared in the same number as one of the muscle men.
Her last play before the public was in the 1970s when Jane was a spokesperson for Playtex bras. Had Jane not been wasted during the Hughes years, she could have been a bigger actress than what she was allowed to show. Jane Russell died at age 89 of respiratory failure on February 28, 2011 in Santa Maria, California.
In lieu of today’s story, what sex symbol Jane Russell was, even though she was unable to bear children, Russell championed the passage of the Federal Orphan Adoption Amendment of 1953, which allowed children of American servicemen born overseas to be placed for adoption in the United States.
Her three adopted children from her first marriage when she married her high school sweet heart, was Tracy Waterfield, Thomas Waterfield and Buck Waterfield.
Leonardo DiCaprio visited Jane while filming The Aviator (2004) in order to find up close and personal what Howard Hughes was really like.
Jane Russell passed away on February 28, 2011. One month after her death, another screen legend Elizabeth Taylor died at age 79.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell