Bloggers Remember Jane Russell (1921-2011)

BlogHer Original Post

Sex sells, and so that concept started with the career of Jane Russell, who died on Monday at the age of 89. During a time period when women were to be demure and wholesome, Russell's director extenuated her breasts, had her pose for stills with come-hither pouty lips, and put the idea of wanting a fantasy into the minds of moviegoers.

The Internet lit up with news of Russell's passing:

Photo: RIP Jane Russell. What a lady. than a minute ago via Tumblr

Howard Hughes directed Russell in The Outlaw, which became the center of a censorship controversy. According to the New York Times:

A movie poster —- which showed a sultry Ms. Russell in a cleavage-revealing blouse falling off one shoulder as she reclined in a haystack and held a gun —- quickly became notorious and seemed to fuel movie censors’ determination to prevent the film’s release because of scenes that, by 1940s standards, revealed too much of the star’s breasts. The Roman Catholic Church was one of the movie’s vocal opponents.

Jane Russell The Outlaw
© Globe Photos

It's an idea that Russell didn't wholly accept after the fact. According to MTV:

... her image lived on as one of the pinup girls most beloved by soldiers during World War II, despite her deeply religious born-again Christian beliefs and a conservative background that had her regretting her early career choices later in life.

Russell was outspoken about her beliefs, and was always good for a quote, such as, "These days I am a teetotal, mean-spirited, right-wing, narrow-minded, conservative Christian bigot, but not a racist."

Director Hughes reportedly also constructed the first underwire bra for Russell to wear in The Outlaw, though she never actually wore it:

According to Jane's 1988 autobiography, she was given the bra, decided it had a mediocre fit, and wore her own bra on the film set with the straps pulled down.

Later, she became a Playtex spokeswoman for the Cross-Your-Heart Bra and the 18-Hour Bra.

What do you remember Jane Russell for? One of her movies or the "18-hour bra"?
#fb than a minute ago via web

  • Stupid Celebrities has a small obituary along with a link to YouTube clips and pictures.
  • Bitten and Bound also has a small obituary with a link to a CNN interview.
  • Gabby Babble has one of her famous photos posing on top of bales of hay.
  • On the Edge is featuring a link from The Outlaw.

Russell had a great comedic sense:

What is your favourite Jane Russell movie?

  • The Outlaw
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • The Las Vegas Story
  • Double Dynamite
  • The French Line

Photo Credit: Keystone Pictures USA/Zuma Press

Original for BlogHer

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.


In order to comment on, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.