Biography and 20 The Best Jane Russell Movies

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Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was born on June 21, 1921 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her father was a United States Army lieutenant and her mother had been a student of drama and an actress with a traveling troupe. Once Mr. Russell was mustered out of the service, the family took up residence in Canada, but moved to California when he found employment there. The family was well-to-do and although Jane was the only girl among four brothers, her mother saw to it that she took piano lessons. In addition to music, Jane was interested in drama much as her mother had been and participated in high school stage productions. Upon graduation, Jane took a job as a receptionist for a doctor who specialized in foot disorders. Although she had originally planned on being a designer, her father died and she had to go to work to help the family. Jane modeled on the side and was very much sought-after especially because of her figure.

She managed to save enough money to go to drama school, with the urging of her mother. She was ultimately signed by Howard Hughes for his production of The Outlaw (1943) in 1941, the film that was to make Jane famous. The film was not a classic by any means, but was geared to show off Jane’s ample physical assets. Although the film was made in 1941, it was not released until two years later and then only on a limited basis due to the way the film portrayed Jane’s assets. It was hard for the flick to pass the censorship board. Finally, the film gained general release in 1946. The film was a smash at the box-office.

Jane did not make another film until 1946 when she played Joan Kenwood in Young Widow (1946). She had signed a seven year contract with Hughes and it seemed the only films he would put her in were those that displayed Jane in a very flattering light due to her body. Films such as His Kind of Woman (1951) and The Las Vegas Story (1952) did nothing to showcase her true acting abilities. Probably the pinnacle of her career was in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) as Dorothy Shaw, with Marilyn Monroe. This film showed Jane’s comedic side very well. Jane did continue to make films throughout the 1950s, but the films were at times not up to par, particularly with Jane’s talents being wasted in forgettable movies in order to show off her sexy side. Films such as Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955) and The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956) did do Jane justice and were able to show exactly the fine actress she was.

After The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (1957) (a flop), Jane took a hiatus from films, to dabble a little in television, returning in 1964 to film Fate Is the Hunter (1964). Unfortunately, the roles were not there anymore as Jane appeared in only four pictures during the entire decade of the 1960s. Her last film of the decade was The Born Losers (1967). After three more years away from the big screen, she returned to make one last film called Darker Than Amber (1970). Her last play before the public was in the 1970s when Jane was a spokesperson for Playtex bras. Had Jane not been wasted during the Hughes years, she could have been a bigger actress than what she was allowed to show. Jane Russell died at age 89 of respiratory failure on February 28, 2011 in Santa Maria, California.

20.The Born Losers

Jane Russell, Tom Laughlin

Released: 1967

Directed by: Tom Laughlin

Born Losers is a 1968 action film and the first of the Billy Jack movies. The film introduced Tom Laughlin as the half-Indian Green Beret Vietnam veteran Billy Jack. Since 1954 Laughlin had..

19.The Tall Men

Clark Gable, Jane Russell

Released: 1955

Directed by: Raoul Walsh

The Tall Men is a 1955 American western film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Clark Gable, Jane Russell, and Robert Ryan. The 20th Century Fox film was produced by William A. Bacher..

18.Double Dynamite

Frank Sinatra, Jane Russell

Released: 1951

Directed by: Irving Cummings

Double Dynamite is a 1951 American musical comedy film directed by Irving Cummings and starring Jane Russell, Groucho Marx, and Frank Sinatra. The film was written by Leo Rosten, Mel..

17.Johnny Reno

Jane Russell, Lon Chaney

Released: 1966

Directed by: Robert G. Springsteen

Johnny Reno is a 1966 American western film made by A.C. Lyles Productions and released by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by R.G. Springsteen, produced by A.C. Lyles, with a..

16.Hot Blood

Jane Russell, Cornel Wilde

Released: 1956

Directed by: Nicholas Ray

Hot Blood is a 1956 film starring Jane Russell and Cornel Wilde..

15.Fate Is the Hunter

Jane Russell, Suzanne Pleshette

Released: 1964

Directed by: Ralph Nelson

Fate Is the Hunter is a 1964 film about the crash of an airliner and the subsequent investigation: it was directed by Ralph Nelson and released by 20th Century Fox. It was nominally based on…

14.The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown

Jane Russell, Keenan Wynn

Released: 1957

Directed by: Norman Taurog

The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown is a 1957 American comedy film made by Russ-Field Productions and released by United Artists. It was directed by Norman Taurog from a screenplay by Richard..

13.Underwater!

Jayne Mansfield, Jane Russell

Released: 1955

Directed by: John Sturges

Underwater! is a 1955 adventure film directed by John Sturges and starring Jane Russell and..

12.Gentlemen Marry Brunettes

Jane Russell, Jeanne Crain

Released: 1955

Directed by: Richard Sale

Gentlemen Marry Brunettes is a 1955 romantic musical comedy film produced by Russ-Field productions, starring Jane Russell and Jeanne Crain, and released by United Artists. It was….

11.Road to Bali

Bob Hope, Dean Martin

Released: 1952

Directed by: Hal Walker

Road to Bali is a 1952 American comedy film directed by Hal Walker and starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. Released by Paramount Pictures on November 1, 1952, the film…

10.Foxfire

Jane Russell, Mara Corday

Released: 1955

Directed by: Joseph Pevney

Foxfire is a 1955 Hollywood motion picture, that starred Jane Russell and Jeff Chandler. Foxfire is historically notable in that it was the last American film to be shot in three-strip Technicolor,.

9.The Las Vegas Story

Vincent Price, Jane Russell

Released: 1952

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

The Las Vegas Story is a 1952 suspense film noir starring Jane Russell and Victor Mature, directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Robert Sparks and Howard Hughes with Samuel..

8.The Paleface

Bob Hope, Jane Russell

Released: 1948

Directed by: Norman Z. McLeod

The Paleface is a 1948 Technicolor comedy Western directed by Norman Z. McLeod, starring Bob Hope as “Painless Potter” and Jane Russell as Calamity Jane. In the film, Hope sings the..

7.The Revolt of Mamie Stover

Jane Russell, Joan Leslie

Released: 1956

Directed by: Raoul Walsh

The Revolt of Mamie Stover is a romantic drama film directed by Raoul Walsh and produced by Buddy Adler from a screenplay by Sydney Boehm, based on the novel of the same name by…

6.Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell

Released: 1953

Directed by: Howard Hawks

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a 1953 American musical comedy film based on the 1949 stage musical of the same name. It was directed by Howard Hawks..

5.Son of Paleface

Bob Hope, Jane Russell

Released: 1952

Directed by: Frank Tashlin

Son of Paleface is a 1952 Western comedy film directed by Frank Tashlin and starring Bob Hope, Jane Russell, and Roy Rogers. The film is a sequel to The Paleface. Written by Tashlin..

4.The French Line

Kim Novak, Jane Russell

Released: 1954

Directed by: Lloyd Bacon

The French Line is a 1954 musical film starring Jane Russell made by RKO Pictures, directed by Lloyd Bacon and produced by Edmund Grainger, with Howard Hughes as executive producer…

3.The Outlaw

Jane Russell, Walter Huston

Released: 1943

Directed by: Howard Hawks, Howard Hughes

The Outlaw is a 1943 American Western film, directed by Howard Hughes and starring Jane Russell. The supporting cast includes Jack Buetel, Thomas Mitchell, and Walter Huston

2.Macao

Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell

Released: 1952

Directed by: Josef von Sternberg, Nicholas Ray

Macao is a 1952 black-and-white film noir adventure film directed by Josef von Sternberg and Nicholas Ray. Producer Howard Hughes fired director von Sternberg during filming and hired

. Hughes..

1.His Kind of Woman

Vincent Price, Robert Mitchum

Released: 1951

Directed by: Richard Fleischer, John Farrow

His Kind of Woman is a 1951 black-and-white film noir starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell. The film features supporting roles by Vincent Price, Raymond Burr, and Charles..
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