1 Mar 2011

Sweet Jane

As you might already know, the gorgeous Jane Russell passed away yesterday at the age of 89 ... probably from boredom of watching this year's Oscars.

I know a bit about Jane Russell that goes beyond what's on Wikipedia, in part because a) what supposed 50s housewife doesn't know something about Jane Russell? b) I've liked her Gentlemen Prefer Blondes co-star, Marilyn Monroe, for some time and c) I love to gobble up useless trivia about old Hollywood that only come in handy at times like these.

Marilyn Monroe was not a woman who had a lot of girlfriends, and her female colleagues on the set were often quite cool toward her. That is, except for Jane Russell. Jane had actually met Marilyn before she hit it big - it just so happens that Marilyn's first husband, Jim, and Jane were high school classmates. It also didn't hurt that Jane Russell was pretty secure in her own right. If she was intimidated by the bombshell on the set of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (a title I'll always take issue with), she didn't let it show. Rather, she was quick to take Marilyn (who was actually very shy and nervous) under her wing during the filming - an act that would spark a meaningful friendship for both actresses.

Here's a clip of Jane from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. During this song, around 3:28, you'll see her get (violently) flung into the pool. That was actually a complete accident on the set. She took it like a champ and the director quickly reworked the scene to keep the water dunk in - not only because it looked funny, but because they didn't have the time to dry Jane off and retake it all. She apparently laughed it up:

**I should also mention that this clip captures some of the gayest shit - and I mean that in the most flattering, awesome, butt-fucking way - I have seen on film. Nearly nude training outfits? Sword-suggestive Trojan paintings? Choreographed Muscle Marys? Say it with me (with a lisp): Yeth, Thir!**

I'm not particularly into Jane Russell's political stances (e.g.: she was staunchly anti-choice, in part because she had a botched "back alley abortion" at 18 that left her infertile) and as time went by, she made more and more crotchety statements of the old lady variety, but I can respect the actress and woman she was all the same.

RIP, Jane Russell.


Anonymous,  7:36 pm, March 01, 2011  

I loved Jane Russell in that role. Neat to know that the scene was actually a blooper!

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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