Friday, March 04, 2011
My Weekend Crush
Jane Russell wasn’t just sexy. She was sex. She was the proverbial roll in the hay. She was grown-up desire wrapped up in monumental curves and raven hair. She was what sin dreamed about when it was having a particularly good night. She didn’t appear on screen as much smolder a hole right through the center of it. Her story is the stuff Hollywood legend. Billionaire eccentric Howard Hughes discovered her and put her (and her ample assets) on full display in “The Outlaw” much to the censors dismay. (The release of the film was delayed for years as a result.) She became an overnight sensation and a sex symbol for the ages. But there was more to her than her most obvious attributes, and more than their complimenting accessories: the perpetually cocked eyebrow and almost cruel snarl of her lips. Of course she was more than beautiful, more than sexy. She could sing and dance and crack wise with the best of them. Like her contemporary and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” costar Marilyn Monroe, she was much more than the sum of her parts. Her passing Monday leaves us with one less touchstone to a different era in Hollywood. To a time before Twitter and TMZ, when stars were far away things to wish upon in the night sky. Of course, in her later years she took a hard Christian right turn from her sultry siren start. She was a conservative activist and strongly pro-life (she had a botched back-alley abortion in high school that prevented her from having children). But, well, everyone is entitled an opinion. So perhaps all the better that she came up in an era before we knew everything down to what a celebrity is having for breakfast. I prefer then to just remember her hair all tousled, clothes all askew with a steady, unabashed stare that said, “Who needs a bedroom?” Happy weekend, all.