Screen legend Jane Russell dies in Santa Maria

February 28, 2011

Jane Russell in "The OUtlaw"

Jane Russell, 89, who became one of the biggest and most controversial movie stars of the 1940’s and 50’s, in part due to her revealing cleavage, died Monday at her home in Santa Maria.

Russell, a former pin-up girl, was cast by aviator and businessman-turned-director Howard Hughes in the 1943 Western “The Outlaw.” The actress risked the wrath of censors with her aerodynamic bra and plunging neckline.

The actress went on to star in “Paleface” with Bob Hope and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” with Marilyn Monroe.

During the 1970’s, Russell appeared as the spokesperson for the Playtex bra in a series of television commercials.

Russell eventually retired to the Central Coast to be near her family. Her daughter-in-law Etta Waterfield mounted a failed campaign for office last spring in the Republican primary for state assembly.

The story is already getting statewide and national attention.







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“… towering physicality and frontal amplitude…”

I remember having lunch in Steamers in Pismo Beach a couple years back. Jane Russell came in with a friend and In recognized her instantly. She slid into the booth behind me and I was really tempted to say hello when we left, but I wanted to respect her privacy. Looking back, I should have said hello. Jane Russell had a fascinating career in Hollywood and she never seemed to take herself seriously. Her relationship with Howard Hughes is pure Hollywood legend.