Loosing a legend, Jane Russel….

I recently heard the news that the star of Hollywood movie fame, Jane Russel had passed away on February 28th at age 89 from respiratory failure. It tends to remind me of my age since I watched all her movies, some in black and white! No, there was no color T.V. back then, shocking as it may seem.

I don’t know how many of you remember the “Billy Jack” movies…. I was a huge fan at age 11…. and this one was the first.  Jane Russel was one of the stars of the movie and an actress that I was familiar with from her numerous other movies. She was wonderful to watch. She was wonderful in this movie, as well, although it was towards the end of her film career.
According to Wikipedia……..

Born Losers is a 1967 action film and the first of the Billy Jack movies. The film introduced Tom Laughlin as the half Indian Green Beret Vietnam veteran Billy Jack. Since 1954 Laughlin had been trying to produce his Billy Jack script about discrimination toward American Indians. In 1967 he decided to introduce the Billy Jack character in a quickly written script designed to capitalize on the then-popular trend in motorcycle gang movies. The story was based on a real incident from 1964 where members of the Hells Angels were arrested for raping two teenage girls in Monterey, California.

Jane Russel was a woman who managed to be part of Hollywood and yet she kept her private life out of the tabloids. She made some “great” movies, some big and some small (24 between 1943 and 1970) . In 1955 she founded the World Adoption International Fund (WAIF) because she was an adoptive mother herself and found the process long and difficult.  She was a talented dancer and singer.  She was a christian, a conservative, and right-winged. She is also the reason we have the “Wonder Bra” today!! She was a favorite pin-up for GI’s and…one more thing, she rode motorcycles.

I was reminded of her picture in one of my favorite books, “THE AMERICAN MOTORCYCLE GIRLS” by Cristine Sommers Simmons, wife of Doobie Brothers member, Patrick Simmons. This is by far one of my favorite books and the one that led me to research Dorothy Robinson which led to my fantastic pink bike with her portrait on it.
Here is the picture of the lovely Ms Russel on her 1948 Indian…

Lady Godiva on wheels…. saying “Goodbye” to a legend and a fellow woman rider. RIP Jane…


2 Responses to “Loosing a legend, Jane Russel….”

  1. 1 lster921
    March 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    i don’t follow what comes out of hollywood much these days, but i used to when i was younger…much younger. sad to hear about ms. russell. i had no idea she rode bikes. what a beauty. thanks so much for the post!

    • March 6, 2011 at 4:53 am

      Thanks for reading my little blog post. What is more blog worthy than the end of an era and a beautiful woman on a motorcycle?

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