Jane Russell (RIP) Stars in “Outlawed” Western

Pub­lic­i­ty can be ter­ri­ble. But only if you don’t have any. - Jane Rus­sell

Jane Rus­sell learned the pow­er of noto­ri­ety at an ear­ly age. Direc­tor Howard Hugh­es (the reclu­sive bil­lion­aire) had cast the volup­tuous 19-year-old in his epic West­ern The Out­law (1943), with the full inten­tion of mak­ing her a sex sym­bol. Hugh­es essen­tial­ly made her con­sid­er­able assets the star of the film, even going so far as to design a spe­cial can­tilevered push-up bra for her to wear dur­ing shoot­ing.

Hugh­es did his job almost too well. The promi­nent dis­play of cleav­age in both the film and its trail­er unnerved cen­sors and kept The Out­law out of the­aters until near­ly 1950. (You can watch the full movie above.) The con­tro­ver­sy also launched Rus­sel­l’s career as a WWII pin-up girl, but she con­tin­ued to per­form in films, even­tu­al­ly prov­ing to be a fine actress and singer. Today she is per­haps best remem­bered  for her con­fi­dent, sexy, per­for­mance oppo­site Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe in the 1953 com­e­dy Gen­tle­man Pre­fer Blondes, and espe­cial­ly for her show­stop­ping num­ber, “Ain’t Any­one Here For Love?”

A botched ille­gal abor­tion at the age of 19 left the actress unable to bear chil­dren, and she was a vocal anti-abor­tion activist and advo­cate for adop­tion. Also a proud Repub­li­can, she described her­self to an inter­view­er in 2003 as a “a tee­to­tal, mean-spir­it­ed, right-wing, nar­row-mind­ed, con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian big­ot — but not a racist.”

Ms. Rus­sell died yes­ter­day of a lung-relat­ed ill­ness at her home in San­ta Maria, Cal­i­for­nia. She was 89 years old.

You can see The Out­law in our free movies col­lec­tion.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

25 Free John Wayne West­erns

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