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Jane Russell

Born: 1921-06-21 - Died: 2011-02-28
Cause of Death:
Respiratory Illness


Death Summary: Russell died in her Santa Maria, California home due to a respiratory-related illness.

Who was Jane Russell : Jane Russell was an American actress who's filmography spanned 40 years. She worked with Hollywood talent along the likes of Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra.

Russell was born in Bemidji, Minnesota, the oldest child out of five. She was the daughter of a First Lieutenant in the US army and a former actress. Her mother arranged for her to take piano lessons, and Russell took to music at an early age. Along with her music, she performed in stage productions in high school. She would continue to study drama, while also taking part in modeling.

In 1940, Russell signed a seven year contract with famed film mogul, Howard Hughes. Her first movie was titled 'The Outlaw', a story about Billy the Kid. The movie was met with controversy, as Russell showed more cleavage in the film than was the norm. Due to production code, the film saw limited release in 1943. It wouldn't see a wide release until 1946.

After The Outlaw, Russell's stardom began to shine. Her beautiful face, matched with her statuesque physique, made her popular among servicemen in World War II.

Most of Russell's films would be musicals, which led to a stand alone music career. In 1948, she starred in Calamity Jane, opposite of Bob Hope. The role she was most famous for was in the 1953 production, 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', where she starred alongside Marilyn Monroe. Both women were considered the most beautiful actresses at the time. The 50's were the busiest in Russell's career, as 18 of the 29 works she's credited for were made in that ten year span.

Monroe and Russell both have their signatures, hand and foot prints outside the Grauman's Chinese Theater. They are next to each other.

After her string of movies in the 50's, Russell's work began to decline. She made her Broadway debut in 1971 in the musical drama, Company. She also appeared in commercials as a spokeswoman for Playtex, specifically the 18-hour bra.

In Glamour magazine, Russell was voted one of the '40 Most Iconic Movie Goddesses'. She was married three times. First, was to Bob Waterfield, a NFL quarterback. After 25 years they divorced, and she married Roger Barrett who would die that same year. She married her third husband, John Peoples, in 1974. They would stayed married until he died in 1999. Her and Waterfield adopted three children as she was unable to conceive. This led her to becoming a strong advocate for adoption, and she started the World Adoption International Fund (WAIF), an organization which places children with adoptive families.
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