Jane Russell, one of the few remaining starts of Hollywood's great days, is gone.
Blessed with a figure that wouldn't quit, she was discovered and cast by Howard Hughes as Rio McDonald in The Outlaw. She became a pin-up girl for our troops overseas in World War Two and a movie censor's nightmare.
Bob Hope used to say that "Culture meant being able to describe Jane Russell without using your hands."
But unlike other contemporary starlets, she remained relatively free of scandal, and she was a staunch Republican who attended Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration along with other notables from Hollywood such as Lou Costello, Dick Powell, June Allyson, Anita Louise and Louella Parsons. That would have killed her in today's immoral Hollywood, but back then, it represented real America, and she was in good company. As she described it:
"I have always been a Republican, and when I was in Hollywood long ago, most of the people there were Republican. The studio heads were all Republican, my boss Howard Hughes was a raving Republican, and we had a motion picture code in those days so they couldn't do all this naughty stuff. We had John Wayne, we had Charlton Heston, we had man named Ronald Reagan, we had Robert Mitchum, James Stewart, Clark Gable."
She was also a proud Christian woman who opened her house to bible studies for Christians in the film industry while her career was at it's peak, and she formed a gospel quartet, Hollywood Christian Group, with Connie Haines, Beryl Davis, and Della Russell.
Russell left the movie business early in life, claiming that there really wasn't any work for actresses over thirty in those days. But she stayed busy. In 1955 she founded World Adoption International Fund (WAIF), an organization to place children with adoptive families and which pioneered adoptions from foreign countries by Americans.
She was a lot of things to a lot of people, and today's Hollywood has no one like her or her contemporaries, above. She'll be missed, and she'll always be Rio to me.