Jane Russell, date unknown.
 
Jane Russell on Wikipedia
Jane Russell on the Internet Movie Database
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jane Russell with Marilyn Monroe
Forecourt Ceremony held on Friday, June 26, 1953
 
Born: Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell, June 21, 1921, in Bemidji, Minnesota
Age at the time of the ceremony: 32
Died: February 28, 2011, in Santa Maria, California, age 89
 
Janne Russell was a paopular actress in the late 1940s, rising to sex symbol status stemming from her role in The Outlaw. A singer as well, Russell made many recordings, and broke into Las Vegas and touring.

Ernestine Jane was born the eldest child and only daughter of Geradine and Roy Russell. Geraldine had been an actress on the stage before her marriage to the former Army lieutenant Roy. Moving to Los Angeles when she was very young, Ernestine was given piano lessons, and was active in school plays and so on.

The death of her father caused young Jane to seek enmployment after graduating high school. She was a receotionist in an office, and did modeling. She studied drama and acting at Max Reinhardt's Theatrical Workshop and with Maria Ouspenskaya. Taskmasters, both.

It is unknown where producer Howard Hughes first saw Russell, but he signed her to a seven-year contract in 1940. He immediately pushed her into the production of The Outlaw in 1941. The story of the western outlaw Billy the Kid, Hughes had a desire to see Russell's figure shown to maximum effect. He had designed a tortuous brasierre, which he felt would expose more of her bosom. It was so uncomfortable that the 20-year-old simply told the man (who was also directing) that she was wearing it.

With so much of Russell on display, the Hollywood Production Code Administration refused to pass the film, so 20th Century-Fox bailed from having to releasing it. Hughes created a media storm by secretly orchestrating a moral protest against the picture. The film was released in 1943, but was forced out by the Code Administration.

After World War II, Hughes convinced United Artists to released the film nationally, which happened in April, 1946, and became a hit. Jane Russell emerged as a new sex symbol. By then, she had starred in Young Widow (released in March, 1946) for RKO.

Russell recorded a number of songs with Kay Kyser and his orchestra, then co-starred as Calamity Jane with Bob Hope in The Paleface (released in December, 1948); she starred with Robert Mitchum in both His Kind of Woman (released in August, 1951), and Macao (released in April, 1952).

Russell was kept very busy during this period. She co-starred with both Frank Sinatra and Groucho Marx in Double Dynamite (released in December, 1951), did the noir picture The Las Vegas Story (released in January, 1952), and reunited with Bob Hope in Son of Paleface (released in July, 1952).

Jane Russell co-starred with Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (which played the Chinese in July, 1953); the two ladies were imprinted together, providing Grauman's Chinese with its most enduring photos of a Forecourt ceremony.

RKO head Howard Hughes wanted Russell to wear a racy bikini for the finale of the 3D film The French Line (released in February, 1954), but she baulked; a still-revealing one piece was used instead.

Foxfire (released in August, 1955), with Jeff Chandler, and The Tall Men (which played the Chinese in September, 1955), with Clark Gable and Robert Ryan rounded out her Fox contract.

Russell had married high school sweetheart and football player Bob Waterfield, but injuries from a back-alley abortion years before left her unable to have children. She and Waterfield adopted two children together, with Russell setting up the first international adoption agency, WAIF, in 1955. While she was at it, she set up her own production company, making the Richard Widmark starrer, Run for the Sun (released in July, 1955), Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (released in October, 1955), and she co-produced with Clark Gable his The King and Four Queens (released in December, 1956).

She had the title role in The Revolt of Mamie Stover (released in May, 1956), directed by her frequent director Raoul Walsh, then played a movie star who gets kidnapped in The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (released in May, 1957).

In 1954, Russell had formed a Gospel singing group. Although the lineup would change slightly over time, the group, the Hollywood Christian Group, would record many songs and issue recordings on Capitol Records. She had a successful engagement at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in 1957, leading to a concert career spanning the globe. She released an album, Jane Russell, on MGM Records in 1959.

Movie appearences dwindled to nothing. Fate Is the Hunter (released in September, 1964) featured her in a flashback, but she knew her days before the movie cameras were over. She took over the role of Joanne in the original Broadway run of the Stephen Sondheim musical Company from May to December 1971. She then did the famous television ads for the Playtex "Cross Your Heart Bras."

Russell published her autobiography, Jane Russell: My Path and Detours in 1985. She died of respiratory failure in 2011, at the age of 89.
 
 
Caption TK
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe Forecourt ceremony, Friday, June 26, 1953. The co-stars of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes enter the cement (and history) together.
 
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