Singer, actress, and Hollywood sex symbol of the 1940s and 50s Jane Russell passed away at her home Monday from a respiratory-related illness. Russell leaves behind three children, six grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. She was 89 years old.
Russell was discovered by eccentric director Howard Hughes when he cast her in the 1941 Western The Outlaw, launching her to overnight stardom. She went on to star in such films as The Paleface, His Kind of Woman, Double Dynamite, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Throughout her career she worked for such acclaimed filmmakers as Robert Stevenson, Josef von Sternberg, and Howard Hawks and she starred alongside such film legends as Robert Mitchum, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and Vincent Price.
Jane Russell’s story is unique in that she was discovered while working as a receptionist at a dentist’s office. One of the patients of that particular dentist happened to be the eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes who was stricken by Russell’s beauty and offered her a movie role. She was most well known for her perfect figure that was often accentuated by the camera work in her various films. Reportedly Hughes once said of Russells’ stardom: “There are two good reasons why men go to see her. Those are enough.”
I have never actually seen one of Russell’s films, but I felt she deserved a special shout-out because she is one of many Hollywood legends who was born and raised in my home state of Minnesota. I’m very much looking forward to discovering the lovely talents of Jane Russell in the near future.
Check out this clip below from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Do you have a favorite Jane Russell film?
[Source: The Press Association]