Actress Jane Russel died yesterday morning at her home in Santa Maria, California at the age of 89.
Daughter-in-law Etta Waterfield said that Russell was a “pillar of health” but caught a bad cold and died of respiratory difficulties.
Russell’s children, Thomas K. Waterfield, Tracy Foundas and Robert “Buck” Waterfield,” were at her side, Etta Waterfield said.
Eccentric philanthropist and movie producer Howard Hughes was the first to put Jane Russell on the silver screen, signing her to a seven-year contract in 1940 and promptly putting her in his production of “The Outlaw,” a film about a torrid romance between Billy the Kid and woman named Rio (Russell).
The film got only limited release — in 1943 — because censors at the time were skittish about the attention given Russell’s figure. Hughes wasn’t satisfied. He pulled the film from release and kept it out of circulation for six more years while he did more reshoots and re-editing.