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March 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Jane Russell, whom industrialist Howard Hughes made famous overnight with his sexy advertising campaign for The Outlaw in 1943, died Monday in Santa Maria, CA of respiratory failure at age 89, her son, Buck Waterfield, disclosed. Hughes, who owned RKO, the studio that released The Outlaw, and produced and directed the movie, featured the buxom Russell lying on a bed of straw holding a gun in one hand. It took years for Hughes to get the movie past censors, and it never received a wide release. In its obituary, Reuters said that the “promotional material was so striking that in one poll Russell was voted ‘favorite actress’ before the voters had even seen her act.” She had her biggest hit in 1953, co-starring with Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Son Buck Waterfield — her first husband was the legendary L.A. Rams quarterback Bob Waterfield — told the Hollywood Reporter that his mother never retired, that she had just returned home from a series of one-woman shows in Florida when she became ill.