Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Jane Russell !

Born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell, in Bemidji, Minnesota, she was eldest child and only daughter of the five children of Roy William Russell.

Her father was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and her mother was a former actress with a road troupe. Her parents spent the early years of their marriage in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. For her birth her mother temporarily moved back to the U.S. to make sure she was born a U.S. citizen. Later the family moved to the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. They lived in Burbank in 1930 and her father worked as an office manager at a soap manufacturing plant.

Russell's mother arranged for her to take piano lessons. In addition to music, she was interested in drama and performed in stage productions at Van Nuys High School. Her dreams were to be a designer, until the death of her father at forty-six, when she went to work as a receptionist after graduation. She also modeled and at the urging of her mother, studied drama and acting with Max Reinhardt's Theatrical Workshop and with famed Russian actress Maria Ouspenskaya.

In 1940, Russell was signed to a seven-year contract with Howard Hughes and made her first movie, The Outlaw (1943), a story about Billy the Kid that went to great lengths to show her figure.

One of my favorite Jane Russell movies is:
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes(1953).Director: Howard Hawks.Cast: Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, with Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, Taylor Holmes, and Norma Varden in supporting roles. The screenplay by Charles Lederer. Music of songwriting teams Hoagy Carmichael and Harold Adamson and Jule Styne and Leo Robin. The songs by Styne and Robin are from the Broadway show, while the songs by Carmichael and Adamson were written for the film.

The movie is a comedy with musical numbers. Russell is down-to-earth, with a sharp wit. Monroe role is the gold-digging Lorelei Lee for which the film is best remembered. Who can forget Monroe's performance of the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"!


  1. Jane Russell - what a woman! I liked Gentlemen Prefer Blondes a lot too, Dawn. The contrast between Russell and Monroe was perfect. Where Russell is concerned, the title is not particularly accurate. Her appeal is so strong and sexy I imagine men were split down the middle in admiring each type of woman. Isn't this the one where she sings a song around a pool with an all-male group dressed in swimsuits and doing workouts? That was a hoot!

  2. Bec, This was the movie where she sings a song around a pool with all the men doing workouts?
    I will see if I can find the video and post it for you :D

  3. Jane Russell is wonderful -- tough, sexy, funny and a fine singer, too. For more -- including a clip of her version of "One For My Baby" -- go to

  4. Dawn ,as you know I was very blessed to have met jane, what a nice down to earth LADY. She was kind to me when she did not have to be. I love her films (His Kind Of Woman & Macao)with Robert Mitchem

  5. Dawn, that video is great! Doesnt' it look like an incredibly womanly woman among a group of, how shall it say it, uninterested men? It was pretty racy and unusual for its time.

  6. Becks, It's Howard Hawks direction, He could always push the Hays Office

  7. VP, I will check out the video.. :)

    Paul, Loved your story about meeting Jane. It is one of my favorite celebrity meetings. I 'm planning on writing a review tomorrow on the film, His Kind Of Woman.

    Bec, It really was racy scene for its time. I really loved the wardrobe for this film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

  8. Thanks for posting the birthday blog about Jane. I didn't get to check the birthdays list this morning. Loved the videos you added as well Dawn.

  9. Your welcome Monty, I did not know if you knew it was her birthday. :)


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