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 The Outlaw

The Outlaw

1943 NR

When infamous gunslinger Billy the Kid (Jack Beutel) rides into town, Doc Holliday (Walter Huston) and legendary lawman Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell) are forced to test their friendship. But once the sultry Rio (Jane Russell) shows up to test their libidos, all bets are off. Eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes directs a young and buxom Russell in her screen debut -- a cleavage-bearing performance that kept Hollywood censors on their toes.

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