Women’s History Month: Focus on Jane Russell

Jane Russell [1921 –2011]—actress

–born in Minnesota
–she had four brothers
–in the 1930s, the family moved to San Fernando Valley, California
–Russell attended Van Nuys High School where she participated in drama and also took piano lessons
–after graduating from high school, she worked as a receptionist but also studied drama and acting with Max Reinhardt’s Theatrical Workshop
–In 1940, Howard Hughes discovered Russell and signed her to a seven-year contract
–Her film debut was 1943’s The Outlaw
–She played Calamity Jane opposite Bob Hope in The Paleface [1948] and Dorothy Shaw in the hit film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes [1953] opposite Marilyn Monroe for 20th Century Fox.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes [1953]

–to compare to actress of today, Russell was 5’9″ and her measurements were 38D-24-36
–In 1955, Russell and her first husband, former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bob Waterfield, formed Russ-Field Productions. They produced Gentlemen Marry Brunettes [1955], The King and Four Queens [1956] starring Clark Gable and Eleanor Parker, Run for the Sun [1956] and The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown [1957].

The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown [1957]

I’m just a simple business girl. I sell a funny, phony little commodity called sex and if customers are hungry enough to buy it, I run my own factory in my own way.
–Laurel [Jane Russell]

–In 1957, Russell debuted in a successful solo nightclub act at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.

Russell remarked in 1999: Why did I quit movies? Because I was getting too old! You couldn’t go on acting in those years if you were an actress over 30.

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