Jane Russell was an American actress and Hollywood sex symbol who rose to prominence in the 1940s and 1950s. Born as Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell on June 21, 1921, in Bemidji, Minnesota, she became most famous for her role in the movie "The Outlaw," which was produced by Howard Hughes. Her first film role catapulted her to fame due to the movie’s controversial promotional campaign focusing on her curvaceous figure, especially her cleavage.
Hughes signed Jane Russell to a seven-year contract and designed a special bra for her (which she never wore) to showcase her bust. Although "The Outlaw" was shot in 1941, it wasn't released widely until 1946 due to censorship issues concerning its overt sexual appeal.
After "The Outlaw," Russell made a series of films in the 1940s and 1950s that capitalized on her sultry image. Among these was "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953) in which she starred alongside Marilyn Monroe. The film was a huge success, with Russell and Monroe becoming a memorable screen duo.
Russell’s film career continued through the '50s with movies such as "His Kind of Woman" (1951), "The Las Vegas Story" (1952), and "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes" (1955), the unofficial sequel to "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."
Besides her film career, Russell was also a singer and had recorded several albums and singles. She showcased her vocal talents in many of her films, including "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."
In addition to her entertainment career, Jane Russell was notable for her personal life, including her outspoken views as a conservative Christian and her charitable work. She founded the World Adoption International Fund (WAIF) in the 1950s, which organized adoptions for children from foreign countries. The cause was close to her heart, as she adopted three children with her first husband, football player Bob Waterfield.
Jane Russell's later years saw fewer films, as she worked occasionally in television and theater. She entered semi-retirement after marrying her third husband, real estate broker John Calvin Peoples, in 1974.
Russell passed away on February 28, 2011, in Santa Maria, California, at the age of 89. Her legacy in film history remains strong, primarily for the way she challenged and transformed Hollywood's portrayal of sexuality and for her position as one of the era's top sex symbols.
For further reading about Jane Russell, you may consider exploring: - Biographical entries like those on Biography.com - Her autobiography "Jane Russell: My Path and My Detours" - Film history texts covering the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Please note that many more detailed aspects of Russell’s career and personal life have been documented in various biographical and film history texts, each providing a deeper insight into her impact on American cinema and culture.