Jane Russell was not only one of Old Hollywood’s most alluring sex symbols, but she was also a dear friend of Marilyn Monroe. Russell, who passed away of respiratory failure at her home in California’s Santa Maria Valley at the age of 89 in 2011 starred in such films as The Outlaw, The Paleface, His Kind of Woman, and Gentleman Prefer Blondes. The latter of which was the film that introduced her to Ms. Monroe.
Before her death, Russell was one of the last living Hollywood legends. She was a sultry seductress who was lucky enough to have co-starred alongside Marilyn Monroe and whose impressive curves captured the eye of many a man. Bob Hope in fact was so enamored by her bust that he once introduced her as ‘The two and only Jane Russell’.
When eccentric billionaire magnate and filmmaker Howard Hughes designed an incredibly revealing bra for Jane to wear under a sweater in his film The Outlaw, he sent shockwaves around the world and the movie was banned for many years.
The only copy of The Outlaw’s poster still surviving which depicts Russell with a provocative expression on her face while lounging in a haystack with her skirt hiked up to her thighs and a gun in her hand, sold at auction several years ago for an incredible £52,000.
When that iconic snapshot was taken more than 70 years ago, it was inspired by Hughe’s intense sexual fantasies about the young starlet, but it had very little to do with who she really was as a woman.
While Russell got pregnant when she was 18, proceeded to get a botched abortion before marrying and divorcing three times, and struggled her whole life with alcoholism, in fact, she was a born-again Christian who regularly invoked the name of Jesus in conversation.
She was always a housewife and devoted mother, and actually she never really had much to do with Hollywood. And beyond that, she had very little desire of being the subject of countless men’s uninhibited lust.
Keep watching to discover who the real Jane Russell was and what exactly she had to say about her dear friend Marilyn Monroe that flies in the face of the official narrative.
Jane Russell’s Humble Rise To Fame
She was born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell in Minnesota on June 21, 1921. Jane was the oldest and only daughter of 5 children. Growing up with 4 brothers, Jane became quite the tomboy. Russell’s father was a former First Lieutenant in the US Army and her mother once performed in a traveling revue.
In 1930, Russell’s family moved to the San Fernando Valley in California. It was there, that Jane’s father worked as a manager at a soap manufacturing factory. Jane’s mom convinced her to take piano lessons while she attended Van Nuys High School. It was around this time that she became interested in drama.
While she initially intended on studying design, Jane changed her plans after her father suddenly died at the age of 46. After graduating from High School, Russell became a receptionist. She also did some modeling on the side and per her mother’s suggestion, she studied with Max Reinhardt’s Theatrical Workshop with the actress Marie Ouspenskaya.
In 1952, Marilyn Monroe received Reinhardt’s manuscripts which she intended to be a gift for her instructor, Natasha Lytess. For that, she was heavily criticized by the media and eventually agreed to sell the archive at cost to Reinhardt’s son. But as fate would have it, Reinhardt’s son then resold the entire collection to a university earning himself a sizable profit.
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And don’t you dare think about going anywhere so soon. Stay tuned to see why Jane Russell believed that her good friend Marilyn Monroe didn’t take her own life as the record states and why she thought that JFK and RFK might have had something to do with her death.
In 1940, Jane signed a seven-year contract drawn up by Howard Hughes, the hermit-like CEO of Trans-World Airlines, who had also produced a handful of films including Hell’s Angels, The Front Page, and Scarface. Mesmerized by the 19-year-old’s physique, Hughes cast Jane in The Outlaw, a peculiar western that Hughes himself had written.
Jane played the part of ‘Rio’, a beautiful young woman loved both by Doc Holiday and Billy the Kid. Hughes proceeded to design a protruding bra for Jane but she refused to wear it He then arranged for that infamous photoshoot that we already mentioned a minute ago which turned her into one of the most iconic pin-ups of World War II. The film enraged the censors, and Hughes spent the next five years editing his work for general release.
Hughes was notorious for his insatiable sexual appetite, but Russell didn’t want to be just another one of his conquests. In fact, when he invited her back to his quarters one evening, she insisted that he keep his hands to himself. She ended up marrying NFL football player Bob Waterfield in 1943, but in her 1989 book, Marilyn Monroe and the Camera, Jane detailed the time that she met her Marilyn Monroe while at a dance. Jim Doughtery, Monroe’s husband at the time, was wearing a police uniform when he called her over to meet his wife, Norma Jeane. Russell looked up and to see Jeane aka Monroe curled up over Dougherty’s arm. It was an awkward moment, but it was one that she wouldn’t soon forget.
While The Outlaw turned Jane into a star, her contract with Hughes prevented her from starring in any more films until it was approved by the censors. He expected her to help promote the film long before its release had been confirmed and only permitted her to appear in one other movie during that time, 1946s Young Widow.
In 1947, Russell delved into the musical world before returning to films. But in 1953, she joined forces without another much sought-after Hollywood bombshell, Marilyn Monroe.
Jane Russell Painted A Very Different Picture Of Marilyn Monroe
While she and Marilyn Monroe eventually appeared in 1953s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes together and were without a doubt an incredible match onscreen, their fates ultimately turned out to be dramatically different.
Despite their differences, Jane and Monroe became quite close.
Marilyn’s first husband, Jim Doughtery went to high school with Russell and he was the one who introduced the two. At first, all Jane saw was Marilyn’s exquisite beauty but in time she discovered that she was actually quite sensitive and shy.
There was this one time when actor Tommy Noonan did a kissing scene with her that Jane overheard a couple of guys asking him after the shoot what it was like to kiss Ms. Monroe. Apparently, he replied by saying that it was like ‘being swallowed alive’.
After Marilyn heard what he had said, she ran to her dressing room crying. While Russell grew up around boys and knew how insensitive they could be, she suspected that Monroe did not.
Russell Insisted That Marilyn Did Not Kill Herself
Before she passed away, according to Russell, Monroe was planning on marrying baseball player Joe Dimaggio and she also had a fresh new movie contract. Those details in tandem convinced Russell that Marilyn Monroe did not kill herself.
Rather, Russell believed that Monroe was killed. She concluded that there were as she put it ‘dirty tricks’ involved in her death.
Russell further believed that Jack and Bobby Kennedy – both of whom were Marilyn’s lovers – were somehow involved in her demise.
Shortly after Monroe died, Jane met Bobby Kennedy. Russell said that the moment he laid eyes on her, he gave her a look that seemed to indicate that he was her enemy, but she refused to allow him to intimidate her.
Jane Russell Wasn’t Afraid To Speak Her Mind When She Wanted To
While Russell kept close-guard of her own love life, denying that she and Hughes were ever lovers and keeping quiet whenever she was asked about her relationship with Frank Sinatra, she was fairly open about discussing Liza Minnelli and David Gest.
Being Liza’s friend, Russell attended her and Gest’s Lavash 2002 wedding but sided with David after their bitter divorce.
Russell’s third husband, John Peoples, who worked in real estate, died in 1999 after he and Russell had been married for 25 years. After he passed away, Jane turned to booze for some comfort. Quickly, she developed quite a problem with alcohol.
She was 79 years old when she went to rehab, but after her 30-day stay there, she remained sober for the remainder of her life.
Jane Russell’s Failed Marriages
Just three month’s after they walked down the aisle in August 1968, Russell’s second husband Roget Barrett suddenly died after suffering a heart attack.
Jane took his death quite hard and later called his death the ‘worst moment’ of her life.
Her marriage to Roger was in the wake of her quarter-century-long marriage to her first husband, Robert Waterfield.
Jane met Barrett when they were both kids and even back then, they had huge crushes on each other. Russell eventually confirmed that she and Barrett had an affair while she was still married to her first husband, but Waterfield swore up and down that he had always been faithful to her.
Despite his claims of fidelity, Russell discovered that he too had been having an extramarital affair with her secretary. She was devastated and subsequently divorced him.
Robert and Russell adopted three children together because after having that botched abortion at age 18, Russell nearly died and in the process, she was left infertile.
For the last 40 years of her life, Russell devoted her life to the World Adoption International Fund, an organization for the adoption of children, which she founded.
Alright, well we’ve unfortunately come to the end of this video, but it leaves us all with a lot to think about. In the past, we’ve touched on the unusual circumstances surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s death, but here we have first-hand testimony from one of her closest friends that seems to indicate that her official cause of death may be inaccurate.
Jane Russell seemed pretty convinced that Marilyn Monroe did not commit suicide and in fact, she seemed to think that JFK and his brother Robert had something to do with her death. But what do you think? Was Marilyn Monroe murdered or do you believe that she took her own life? Let us know in the comments section below.
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