One of the most famous World War II pin-up girls and movie bombshells of the 1940s and ’50s, Jane Russell, passed away on Monday morning at her home in Santa Maria, California, her family said. Jane Russell was 89-years-old.
Russel’s daughter-in-law Etta Waterfield said that Russell was in very good health but had caught a bad cold and died of respiratory difficulties. Waterfield also said that Russell’s children, Thomas K. Waterfield, Tracy Foundas and Robert “Buck” Waterfield,” were all at her side this morning.
June Russell was found by philanthropist and movie producer Howard Hughes. Hughes first put her on the silver screen in the movie The Outlaw in 1940.
She appeared in The Paleface as Calamity Jane with Bob in 1948 and the sequel, Son of Paleface in 1952. She even earned herself an Oscar nomination for the song “Am I in Love?”
Robert Mitchum was her co-star in both 1951’s His Kind of Woman and 1952’s Macao. She also shared the silver screen with crooner Frank Sinatra and funny man Groucho Marx in 1951’s Double Dynamite. There were many other movies, but it was Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953 that made her into a superstar. She was praised for her singing and comedic acting.
Russell, known for her singing and acting, also wrote an autobiography in the 1970s: “Jane Russell: My Path and My Detours.”
In 2003, she described herself as “a teetotal, mean-spirited, right-wing, narrow-minded, conservative Christian bigot,” variations of which she frequently used.
She will be missed by family, friends, and fans alike.