Primarily known as a Movie Actress and singer, Jane Russell made several appearances on Old Time Radio. She had been a favored pin-up girl with GI’s, but unlike contemporaries like Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe, Ms. Russell‘s personal life remained unstained by scandal.
Russell signed a seven year movie contract with Howard Hughes in 1940. The Hughes publicity machine went into full operation and made her a star before her first picture was completed. Her hourglass figure was well suited to photos featuring low-cut costumes and swimsuits, making her a pin-up favorite. In her first film, The Outlaw, Hughes made every effort to show off her figure. He went as far as having a specialized underwire bra made for her, but she later claimed to have not worn it. Completed in 1941, The Outlaw was held from release until 1943 because of trouble with the censors.
In 1948 she made The Paleface with Bob Hope. She would make several radio appearances with Hope on Command Performance and other USO related projects. Bob Hope once introduced her as “the Two and Only Jane Russell.”
Russell appeared opposite Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953. Although the film is considered Monroe’s iconic performance, critics took special notice of Russell’s down-to-earth, sharp-witted performance.
Jane Russell would become a well known spokesperson for the Playtex 18-Hour Bra. She remained active through her later years. Ms Russell passed away on Feb 28, 2011, of a respiratory related illness. She was 89 years old.
Jane Russell’s Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6850 Hollywood Blvd.