RIP Jane Russell

Iconic screen siren and activist Jane Russell has died at the age of 89.

Russell was discovered by eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes in 1940 and made her onscreen debut in The Outlaw, which was banned for two years over concerns that her cleavage was too racy for general release. She was a popular Forces pin-up during WWII and appeared with stars including Bob Hope throughout the 40s.

Perhaps her most famous performance was as brunette Dorothy Shaw in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which also starred Marilyn Monroe. However, after her star faded in the 60s she became an active social campaigner, supporting the Republican Party and various conservative Christian ventures as well as founding the World Adoption International Fund after discovering that backstreet abortions had left her infertile. She also struggled with alcoholism, describing herself in later life as “a teetotal, mean-spirited, right-wing, narrow-minded, conservative Christian bigot… but not a racist”.

Among her lesser known talents was a passion for playing the bagpipes – Russell actually suggested to Paul McCartney that she play on his single Mull of Kintyre, but she lacked the correct visa.

Russell divorced her first husband and outlived her second and third by forty-two and eleven years respectively. She spent her final years in Santa Maria Valley, CA, where she was active in the local community until a few weeks before her death. She is survived by her three adopted children Tracy, Thomas and Robert.

RIP Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell


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