Hollywood lost one of its original screen sirens yesterday, with the death of actress Jane Russell.
Famed for her classic beauty and hourglass curves, Russell appeared in films alongside the likes of Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope, and memorably with Marilyn Monroe in 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
The actress, who became the GI pin up girl of choice for a generation of American war troops, died of a respiratory related illness at her home in California.
Co-star Bob Hope once joked: “Culture is the ability to describe Jane Russell without moving your hands.”
The Hollywood legend was discovered by billionaire Howard Hughes, who cast her in the 1943 Western The Outlaw, which was banned for two years due to Russell’s ‘ample’ cleavage causing a stir among the censors.
Russell married three times and adopted three children with her first husband Bob Waterfield. Unable to have children herself, she founded World Adoption International Fund, which pioneered adoptions from foreign countries by Americans.
Her daughter-in-law Etta Waterfield confirmed her death and said Russell had remained active in her local community until her condition deteteriorated in recent weeks.
Waterfield said: “She always said I’m going to die in the saddle, I’m not going to sit at home and become an old woman. And that’s exactly what she did; she died in the saddle.”