Photo of Jane Russell Jane Russell

A curvaceous actress of the 1940s and '50s who was better known for her d├ęcolletage than for her singing and dancing, Jane Russell was born June 21, 1921, in Bemidji, Minn., and grew up in Southern California. At 19, she was discovered while working in a doctor's office by millionaire turned movie mogul Howard Hughes, who cast her in her first feature, The Outlaw (1943).

Russell's then-racy promotional posters for the film, in which she posed seductively on a pile of straw, cemented her image as a sex symbol and sparked censorship, delaying the movie's release for several years. But it also made her a star. She went on to appear opposite some of Hollywood's most desirable leading men and to play the physical foil to Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).

In the 1970s, Russell put her famous figure back to work as a spokesperson for Playtex bras. She died Feb. 28, 2011, at age 89.

Jane Russell in His Kind of Woman

His Kind of Woman

1951 NR

Robert Mitchum plays a luckless gambler who agrees to sell his identity to a deported mobster (Raymond Burr). Jane Russell co-stars as a singer pretending to be an heiress, in an attempt to get her hooks into a Shakespeare-slinging actor (Vincent Price). These and other shady characters wind up in a Mexican resort, where the fun really begins. Howard Hughes produced this comedy noir as a vehicle for his rising star Russell.

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  • Jane Russell in Sorrowful Jones / The Paleface Sorrowful Jones / The Paleface
  • Jane Russell in The Paleface The Paleface
  • Jane Russell in Macao Macao
  • Jane Russell in Best of the Abbott & Costello Comedy Hour Best of the Abbott & Costello Comedy Hour
  • Jane Russell in Clark Gable Collection: The Tall Men Clark Gable Collection: The Tall Men
  • Jane Russell in Johnny Reno Johnny Reno
  • Jane Russell in Hollywood Uncensored Hollywood Uncensored
  • Jane Russell in Howard Hughes: His Women and His Movies Howard Hughes: His Women and His Movies
  • Jane Russell in Bing Crosby's White Christmas USO Show Bing Crosby's White Christmas USO Show