Jane Russell, whose voluptuous good looks won the attention of millionaire Howard Hughes and launched her on a movie career, died Monday of respiratory failure at her home in Santa Maria, Calif. She was 89.
Generally cast in fluff films like 1943’s The Outlaw that showed off her well-endowed beauty, Russell reached the pinnacle of her career with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), starring in the comedy with Marilyn Monroe.
During the 1970s, Russell was widely recognized as the spokesperson for Playtex bras, appearing in national TV commercials for the “Cross Your Heart” bra campaign.
Although best known for her figure, Russell showed a comic sensibility in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and again with Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955) and The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956). Nevertheless, most of her movie roles were designed around her towering physicality and frontal amplitude.