Monday, February 28, 2011

Hollywood Legend Jane Russell dead at 89 (music video)

Hollywood screen legend Jane Russell, who first burst onto the screen in the 1943 Howard Hughes film "The Outlaw", has died at home, according to her son, Buck Waterfield. She was 89.

The Outlaw was Hughes' reaction to the strict moral  censorship of the Hollywood production code. Russell's career flourished during the 40's and 50's.

Perhaps her most successful role came when she was paired with Marilyn Monroe in Howard Hawks' 1953 production, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes". Russell played best friend and chaperon Dorothy Shaw to Monroe's gold-digging Loralei Lee.

The musical is best remembered by most fans for Monroe's signature song, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", but my personal favorite number from the film will always be Russell's "Ain't There Anyone Here For Love", which was written especially for her by composer Hoagy Carmichael. The song and dance number features a frisky Dorothy bemoaning the fact that she's on an ocean liner with dozens of hot, sweaty Olympic athletes, but they're all on a very strict curfew. It's probably the most homoerotic scene from the golden age of Hollywood.

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