What Was Jane Russell’s Net Worth?
Jane Russell was an American actress, singer, and model who had a net worth of $40 million at the time of her death on February 28, 2011. Best known as a bonafide sex symbol in the film industry, Jane moved from the midwest to California to land her big break in her first film role with “The Outlaw” in 1943.
Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was born on June 21, 1921, in Bemidji, Minnesota. She was the oldest child and only daughter of five children to Geraldine and Roy William Russell. She had four brothers: Thomas, Wallace, Jamie, and Kenneth. Her father was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and her mother an actress as part of a road troupe. It was her mother who arranged for her to take piano lessons early on, and Jane also took an interest in drama and joined the stage production team at Van Nuys High School. She always wanted to be a designer of some sort, but after the death of her father in his mid-40s, she took work as a receptionist. Jane then got into modeling and studied drama and acting with Max Reinhardt’s Theatrical Workshop at the urging of her mother.
Movies & Music
It was Howard Hughes who took notice of Jane Russell and signed her to a seven-year contract full of the usual binding terms that marked Hughe’s legal dealings with new actresses. After seeing photographs of the buxom bombshell, he thought she’d be the perfect fit in “The Outlaw.” He fixated on the gravity-defying aspects of her figure and obsessed to display it to its fullest degree as Rio in the hot-blooded account of Billy the Kid’s romantic relationship. According to Hollywood legend, early rushes of the film left Hughes displeased about the level of exposure given to Russell’s breasts in the film, and he designed a special bra that would exploit them to absurd levels. In her autobiography, Russell stated that she found Hughes’ uber-bra too constraining to wear, and wore her own undergarment during filming.
In 1947, Russell delved into music before returning to films. After starring in multiple films in the ’50s, Russell again returned to music while completing several other films in the ’60s. She starred in more than 20 films throughout her career. While Hughes was busy marketing Russell as prime cheesecake actress, Russell was quietly building a reputation as a capable actress and singer who could handle both drama and light comedy. Russell reached the apex of her movie career with the sparkling 1953 musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” Paired with Marilyn Monroe—another actress whose abundant sexuality overshadowed her acting abilities—Russell was hailed by critics for her dry comic delivery and singing talents.
Jane Russell was the recipient of several honors for her achievements in films, including having her hand and footprint immortalized in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theater and being awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California. In 1989, Russell received the Living Legacy Award from the Women’s International Center for her tireless work for adoption groups.
Jane married three times, adopted three children, and in 1955 founded the World Adoption International Fund. Jane Geraldine Russell died at her home in Santa Maria of a respiratory-related illness on February 28, 2011.