Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jane Russell who was famous for playing the role of Rio McDonald in The Outlaw and spokeswoman for the Platex 18 hour bra

Jane Russell was born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell on June 21, 1921. She was most famous for playing the role of Rio McDonald in The Outlaw.  She also made the Platex18 hour bra a household name.

Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1953

Jane made her acting debut as Rio McDonald in the 1943 film The Outlaw co-starring Jack Buetel, Thomas Mitchell and Walter Huston.  She became an instant sex symbol.  However, before continuing in the motion picture industry, she would have a brief stint in the music business, releasing many hit songs.

Jane Russell's debut as Rio McDonald in The Outlaw in 1943 made her an instant sex symbol
Jane Russell in The Outlaw 1943
Jane Russell's appearance in The Outlaw in 1943 showed what was considered then, excessive cleavage, prompted the censorship of future films

Although she played many film roles over the years, some of her highlights include Young Widow co-starring Louis Hayward, Norman Lloyd, and Faith Domergue (1946); The Paleface co-starring Bob Hope, Iris Adrian and Robert Armstrong (1948); His Kind of Woman with Robert Mitchum, Vincent Price, Tim Holt, Marjorie Reynolds, Raymond Burr, Jim Backus, and Leslie Banning (1951); Double Dynamite co-starring Groucho Marx and Frank Sinatra (1951); The Las Vegas Story co-starring Victor Mature, Brad Dexter, Will Wright, and Vincent Price (1952); Macao co-starring Robert Mitchum, William Bendix, Gloria Grahame, and Brad Dexter (1952); Son of Paleface co-starring Bob Hope, Roy Rogers, and Iron Eyes Cody (1952); Montana Belle co-starring Forrest Tucker, Andy Devine, George Brent and Scott Brady (1952); and a cameo Road to Bali co-starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour (1952).

Jane Russell and Bob Hope in Road to Bali 1952

Jane went on to star in one of her more notable roles as Dorothy Shaw in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn Monroe and Charles Coburn (1953); The French Line co-starring Gilbert Roland and Arthur Hunnicutt (1953); Underwater! co-starring Gilbert Roland and Richard Egan (1955); Foxfire Jeff Chandler and Dan Duryea (1955); The Tall Men co-starring Clark Gable and Robert Ryan (1955); and Gentlemen Marry Brunettes Jeanne Crain and Alan Young (1955).

Jane Russell and Marylin Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1953
Jane Russell and Clark Gable in The Tall Men 1955

In the later half of the 50s, Jane starred in Hot Blood with Cornel Wilde, Joseph Calleia, Nina Koshetz, Luther Adler, and Helen Westcott (1956); The Revolt of Mamie Stover co-starring Richard Egan, Agnes Moorehead, Michael Pate, and Joan Leslie (1956); and The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown co-starring Keenan Wynn, Fred Clark, and Ralph Meeker (1957).  

Jane made her first television series appearance in an episode of Colgate Theatre entitled MacGreedy's Woman in 1958.  She also appeared in Death Valley Days starring Claude Akins, Raymond Guth and Chuck Roberson (1960); The Red Skelton Hour with Red Skelton, Art Gilmore, and Beryl Davis (1959-63); Johnny Reno co-starring Dana Andrews, Lon Chaney Jr., and John Agar (1966); Waco starring Howard Keel, Terry Moore, Brian Donlevy, DeForest Kelley, and Ben Cooper (1966); The Born Losers with Tom Laughlin, Elizabeth James and Jeremy Slate (1967); and her last film role was in Darker Than Amber with Rod Taylor, Theodore Bikel and Suzy Kendall (1970).

Jane Russell then

In 1971, Russell made her Broadway on-stage debut in the production Company, taking over for another actress.  Her run on Broadway was brief lasting only a short time.

Jane became well known in the 70s as a spokesperson for Platex's 18 hour bra.  She appeared on many commercials showing off her curvaceous features in the under garments.

After an absence from the acting scene, Jane made several guest appearances as Rose Hollister in the TV series The Yellow Rose in 1983 through 1984.  She co-starred with Cybill Shepherd, David Soul, Edward Albert, Ken Curtis, Noah Beery Jr., and Susan Anspach.

Jane's last acting role was a guest appearance in a 1986 episode of the TV series Hunter starring Fred Dryer, Stepfanie Kramer and Anthony Caruso.

Jane Russell in 1985

Jane Russell in 2005

In the late 2000s, Jane was back into the music industry singing gospel music releasing a couple of more albums.

Jane passed away February 28, 2011 from a respiratory illness, she was 89 years old.  She will be well remembered.

Joan Russell in 2010

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