Screen Stunner Jane Russell Dead at 89

Buxom star of '40s, '50s films was active until the end
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2011 12:13 AM CST

(Newser) – Screen bombshell and '40s pin-up girl Jane Russell has died at the age of 89. The busty brunette, discovered by billionaire Howard Hughes, was one of servicemen's favorite pin-ups in World War II before her screen career began with The Outlaw, filmed in 1940 but not released until 1946. She went on to star in many others, including 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, where she was cast alongside Marilyn Monroe.

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Russell, a staunch supporter of conservative causes, was healthy and active with church groups and charities until her health began to fail in her final few weeks of life as a cold led to a respiratory infection, CNN reports. "She always said 'I'm going to die in the saddle, I'm not going to sit at home and become an old woman,'" her daughter-in-law tells AP. "And that's exactly what she did, she died in the saddle." (Read more Jane Russell stories.)

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