Jane Russell, Star of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Outlaw,and Macao, led a rich and interesting life, and here are 5 things you might not know about her.

Written by: Tami Goveia – May 1st, 2020 12:33pm pst

PTN Classic Film Corner: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Jane Russell

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Classic Film Corner: In tandem with Turner Classic Movies we’re spotlighting Jane Russell for the month of April. While some of you may know her and the iconic films she made during the 1940s and 1950s such as The Outlaw, Macao, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes here are  5 things you may not know know about this Classic Hollywood siren: 

1. Of the over 20 films she made, can you guess which one happened to be her favorite? It was Gentlemen Prefer Blondes co-starring Marilyn Monroe. “It was the most professionally done of my films and the role that allowed me to play someone who was closest to me,” she said. And what were her thoughts about working alongside Norma Jean? “We complemented each other because we were so totally different,” Russell said, adding that she playfully called Marilyn “Baby Doll” or “Blondie.” 

2. In 1955 Jane Russell founded the World Adoption International Fund, an organization that facilitated international adoption for U.S. parents. She and then husband, Bob Waterfield, had adopted a baby in London, named Tommy  (they had 2 other children, also adopted) however, laws at the time refused adoption of a British citizen to non-British subjects. The baby however, had dual Irish citizenship and the adoption was granted. The organization shifted focus on promoting the adoption of harder-to-place American orphans before closing its doors in 1998.

3. Her birth name was Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell.

4. It was made very clear at the beginning of her career, a 7 year contract with RKO studios headed by the eccentric billionaire, Howard Hughes, that her rising star was based solely on exploiting her sexuality on the movie screen. Russell’s thoughts? She knew the game and played it, on her terms. On sexism in Hollywood she commented:  ‘“Sometimes the photographers would pose me in a low-necked nightgown and tell me to bend down and pick up the pails. (props) They were not shooting the pails.”  Her response?  “Up yours buddy.” 

PHOTO 4 (Autobiography: Jane Russell: My Path & Detours)

5. If you enjoy autobiographies, Jane Russell wrote hers called Jane Russell: My Path & My Detours which was published in 1985. “The candid story of Hollywood’s popular sex symbol reveals the “girl next door” underneath–marrying her high school sweetheart, founding an international adoption agency–as well as the real truth behind her relationship with Howard Hughes.” ~ Amazon  It can be ordered on myriad sites including Amazon and Goodreads.

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About The Author:

Tami Goveia is a producer, writer and entertainment host for AfterbuzzTV. Classic film and television are her passion, napping is her indulgence and saving all rescues is her mission.

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