Jane Russell (June 21, 1921 – February 28, 2011) was an American film actress and was one of Hollywood's leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s.
Russell moved from the Midwest to California, where she had her first film role in 1943 with The Outlaw. In 1947, Russell delved into music before returning to films. After starring in multiple films in the 1950s, Russell again returned to music while completing several other films in the 1960s. She starred in over 20 films throughout her career.
Russell married three times and adopted three children and, in 1955, founded the World Adoption International Fund. For her achievements in film, she received several accolades including having her hand and foot prints immortalized in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Russell had three husbands: Bob Waterfield, a UCLA All American, Cleveland Rams and Los Angeles Rams quarterback, Los Angeles Rams head coach, and Pro Football Hall of Fame member (married on April 24, 1943, then divorced in July 1968); actor Roger Barrett, (married on August 25, 1968, until his death on November 18, 1968); and the real-estate broker John Calvin Peoples (married January 31, 1974 until his death from heart failure on April 9, 1999). Russell and Peoples lived in Sedona, Arizona for a few years, but spent the majority of their married life residing in Montecito, California. In February 1952, she and Waterfield adopted a baby girl, Tracy. In December 1952, they adopted a fifteen-month-old boy, Thomas, whose birth mother, Hannah McDermott had moved to London to escape poverty in Derry, Northern Ireland, and in 1956 she and Waterfield adopted a nine-month-old boy, Robert John. Due to back street abortions, her first at 18, Russell herself was unable to have children, and in 1955 she founded World Adoption International Fund (WAIF), an organization to place children with adoptive families and which pioneered adoptions from foreign countries by Americans. She described herself as "vigorously pro-life".
At the height of her career, Russell started the "Hollywood Christian Group," a weekly Bible study at her home which was arranged for Christians in the film industry. Russell appeared occasionally on the Praise The Lord program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, a Christian television channel based in Costa Mesa, California. Russell was, at times, a prominent Republican Party member who attended Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration along with other notables from Hollywood such as Lou Costello, Dick Powell, June Allyson, Anita Louise and Louella Parsons. She has described her struggles with alcoholism, commenting in her later life, "These days I am a teetotal, mean-spirited, right-wing, narrow-minded, conservative Christian bigot, but not a racist."
Russell resided in the Santa Maria Valley along the Central Coast of California. She died at her home in Santa Maria of a respiratory-related illness on February 28, 2011. She was survived by her three children: Thomas Waterfield, Tracy Foundas and Robert Waterfield. Her funeral was held on March 12, 2011 at Pacific Christian Church, Santa Maria.