Posts in Category: News

IN PERSON Book Release Party at Larry Edmunds

Year of Jane Russell: Day 156

We are 10 days away from the release of Mean…Moody…Magnificent! Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend!  I didn’t think it would be possible, but we are going to have an old fashioned in-person book release! 

Saturday, June 19, 4-6pm
Larry Edmunds Bookshop
6644 Hollywood Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

It’ll be super low key with some cool Jane Russell items from my collection on display and plenty of copies of the book which I will be on hand to sign. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hi! 

My George McFly Moment With Jane

Year of Jane Russell: Day 153

Back when my first book Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel came out, I wrote about how receiving the book in the mail reminded me of the Back to the Future when George McFly, who is a published author in the altered 1985, receives a box of his latest book. It may sound silly, but that was the part of the film that made a huge impression on me as a kid. From that moment on, I wanted to have my George McFly moment. I got to enjoy one in 2013 with Ann Dvorak, and this week, I got to have my George McFly moment with Jane when I received my box of Mean…Moody…Magnificent!

Just to see how much things have changed in 7+ years, here’s the kiddo and me the first time around. 

Live Event on May 30th: Classic Movie Hub Screen Classics Discussion Series

Year of Jane Russell: Day 144

On Sunday, May 30th at 6pm PST, I’ll be talking all about Jane Russell live with Andrew Erish, author of the upcoming Vitagraph: America’s First Great Motion Picture Studio, as well as Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood. It should be a blast so tune in at:

Interview About the Jane Russell Book in the New Issue of “Marilyn Today”

Year of Jane Russell: Day 92

So thrilled to have been interviewed about my Jane Russell book for the latest issue of MARILYN TODAY. Writing about GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES was one of my favorite parts of the bio!

The publication is put out by the Germany-based Some Like Hot Marilyn Monroe fan club. Additional info can be found here:

Publicity Shot for “His Kind of Woman”

Year of Jane Russell: Day 3

We continue looking at the collection of original 8×10” negatives I recently obtained with this publicity shot from 1951’s His Kind of Woman, one of two films Jane made opposite the great Robert Mitchum. Howard Greer designed the costumes for the film, and while they’re not as striking as the Michael Woulfe designs of Macao (Jane’s other film with Mitch), they’re still quite wonderful. This is the dress she wears for her introductory scene in His Kind of Woman, sans the wrap and hat. In the scene she casually sings “Five Little Miles From San Berdoo” in a dive bar while looking every inch the movie star. It’s one of my favorite Jane scenes and the look on Mitch’s face when he first lays eyes on her is priceless!

Hello 2021 aka the Year of Jane Russell!

Year of Jane Russell Day 1

Jane Russell in Macao

Happy New Year, my fellow film fans! Like the rest of you, I am bracing myself for the unknowns of the months ahead, desperately clinging to some hope that we’ll be leaving many of the current challenges behind. Amidst this anxiety-filled period of cautious optimism, I can offer one reliable constant – the Year of Jane Russell.

What does this mean? Well, June of 2021 will mark Jane Russell’s centennial AND the release of my JR biography Mean…Moody…Magnificent! Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend. I don’t know if the book launch will be in person or virtual (or both), but I hope you’ll somehow be able to join me! Since June is a few months away, I’ll be celebrating in the meantime with a DAILY post of something JR from what has become a decent personal collection of memorabilia.

If you weren’t already aware, I am a Collector, something that seems to be in my DNA. These days I try to keep my collecting impulses contained to Ann Dvorak who has been my collecting passion for the last twenty-three years. The problem is, after two decades I’ve picked most of the stores and dealers clean, so I now have to rely on the occasional fabulous find on eBay (however someone popped last year who outbids me on pretty much everything. Just one more reason why 2020 was the worst.) When I started researching Jane, I have to fess up that I used it as an excuse to launch a mini collection that has ballooned into more than enough to share something every day for the entire year. You can look forward to posters, theatre programs, letters, recordings, and photos, photos, photos! I ended up using around ninety images in the book, but I have soooo many more and look forward to spending the year sharing them.

For those of you who followed me in 2013, when I did the Year of Ann Dvorak for that book’s release, this year will be scaled back to simple shares rather than full blown blog posts (I’m older and wiser now). Jane is so damn fabulous that her photos practically speak for themselves.

To get the year started, I thought I would spend some time with a collection of 8×10″ original negatives that a friend recently found at a flea market. The one at the top of this post, with Jane wearing the gold chain dress designed by Michael Woulfe for Macao is my favorite from the bunch. Had this collection of negatives landed in my hot little hands a few months earlier, this image might have been the cover. There are some Howard Hughes-fueled stories about this dress, but you’ll need to wait for the book, which can be pre-ordered from Larry Edmunds, the only place to get a signed copy AND a set of JR Gentlemen Prefer Blondes costume test postcards (while supplies last).

You can check back here daily, or follow me on Twitter (@christinarice) or Instagram (@janerussellbio) your daily dose of Jane! Wishing you all safety and sanity as we embark on this new year.

Jane Russell Book Cover Unveiled (and No, It’s Not Jane on a Haystack)

Cover of Mean...Moody...Magnificent! Jane Russell image

I am excited to share the cover of the Jane Russell biography which is officially titled Mean…Moody…Magnificent! Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend. The projected release date is June 15, 2021 which will be just in time for Jane’s 100th birthday. Here’s to hoping we’ll be able to have an in-person launch!

I could not be happier with this cover, featuring a portrait of Jane from 1952’s Macao. I’ve had a few people comment that they expected me to go with one of the fabled Hurrell haystack images from The Outlaw. I have to admit that when I first began working on the book a few years back, I had every intention of using one of the Hurrells. Those images are so iconic that it seemed like a no-brainer to have a glaring-gun-pointing Jane on the cover. However, at some point during the process, I had a complete change of heart for a few reasons.

For many people, those images of Jane largely define her place in Hollywood history. The point of the book is to highlight how much more there was to her career and how she in fact overcame the publicity campaign for The Outlaw. For me, the peak of Jane’s career came around 1952-53, so I wanted to use an image from that period rather than the Hurrells, which were taken a full decade earlier. Since Jane’s autobiography uses one of the haystack photos, I wanted to use something that would set my book apart from hers. One of my biggest reasons for avoiding The Outlaw photos was as a nod to Jane. She spent most of her life being followed by those Hurrell images and eventually came to loathe them. The only reason she had one of them on her own book is because her publisher insisted on it, not because she actually wanted to. If Jane were still around, I suspect she would have been less than thrilled at having a book written about her, so I figured the least I could do was use an image on the cover I hope she would approve of.

Let the countdown begin!

Jane Russell “Outlaw” Art by Zoë Mozert Coming Up For Auction

Zoe Mozert painting of Jane Russell

This afternoon, I received a postcard in the mail about an upcoming Profiles in History auction featuring personally owned Howard Hughes items. It’s a rather mind blowing assortment of objects, including love letters from Katharine Hepburn and Joan Fontaine, contracts for Jean Harlow, Ben Hecht, Paul Muni, and Howard Hawks, among others (alas, no Ann Dvorak as far as I can tell), and even the desk that once belonged to Hughes’ dad. Also up for auction is the original painting used in magazine ads for The Outlaw which made the infamous inquiry, “How would you like to tussle with Russell?”

Zoe Mozert paints Jane Russell

It’s a large format painting, measuring 50″ on the long side and is absolutely stunning. Jane Russell seems to have been one of Hughes’ favorite contract players (so much so, he paid her nearly $1,000 a week for years after they both stopped making movies), so it’s telling that this is a piece he held onto. In addition to it being associated with Hughes, Russell, and The Outlaw, add illustrator Zoë Mozert to the mix and the estimate on this one is $20-30,000.

Tussle with Russell ad

With the interest in Howard Hughes still running strong, I’ll be sitting this one out. I hope the painting and some of the contracts and letters end up at an archive for us faithful researchers to access! Full auction details are over at the Profiles in History site.

Happy 99th Birthday Jane!

Portrait of Jane Russell

Today marks what would have been Jane Russell’s 99th birthday. While I haven’t been particularly active on this site, I am pleased to report on this notable Jane day that I have completed my book on JR and submitted the final draft to my publisher, the University Press of Kentucky!

I was in the final stretch of the manuscript when the pandemic really hit and quarantines began. So yes, completing it was a fairly grueling experience, mainly because it was so hard to concentrate with increasingly bleak news pouring in every minute. Closures of physical spaces did impact my ability to tie up some minor loose ends in a couple of archives, and there was one photo I could not get permissions to use because of staff furloughs. Still, those who have reviewed the manuscript so far have given it positive feedback, which is a huge relief.

So, why the rush to finish it? I really wanted to have the book released in time for Jane’s centennial which is next year, so that is what drove the contractual deadline. With everything going on right now, this seems less pressing than it once did and I obviously have no idea what the world is going to look like a year from now. No matter what the book release looks like, I am still grateful for this deadline which probably staved off some depression and stress-eating for a few weeks! I am also excited to share Jane’s story and films with folks, particularly the work she did on behalf of orphaned children through her WAIF organization. Ultimately, I had started working on this project five years ago, so it was time to finish it.

So, what happens now? I have a meeting with UPK’s marketing team tomorrow, so my time with Jane is definitely not done.  As a compulsive collector who seldom finds Ann Dvorak (my true love) items anymore, I really dove in with Jane and now own 3 times more photos than I ended up using in the book. Now that the book is done, I’ll be spending more time on this site, sharing some of the extra photos & ephemera. Since this experience was a bit different from working on the Ann Dvorak book, I though I would highlight some of those differences as well.

In the meantime, wishing folks a safe and healthy Father’s Day and JR birthday.

Welcome to 2019: the Year of Jane Russell (Biography Writing)!

Yes, I know the holiday season is officially winding down, but I could not resist posting this photo of Jane topping off the Christmas tree to start a new year.

I do confess there’s been crickets in these parts since I first announced I was working on a Jane Russell biography. 2018 proved to be a year of distractions, albeit good professional ones, but I have cleared off my plate and am ready to be all about Jane.

So, where does the bio stand? I have spent the last couple of months organizing and logging the research I have compiled over the last four years and geeze there is a lot! Jane is the opposite of Ann Dvorak (the subject of my last book) in that there is more information than I could ever possibly use. Jane made far fewer movies than Ann, but she worked non-stop in television, radio, and especially as a touring singer so there was a lot of coverage. She was interviewed constantly over the years (though tended to get asked the same questions over and over), so that’s another great source. Jane also published her own memoir in 1985, though I am going to try to quote that sparingly since I want my book to complement Jane’s not just rehash it. Did you know Jane’s mother wrote book in 1960? In other words, there is no shortage of info on Jane Russell.

Looking forward, I have a list of folks I need to contact for interviews. For some reason, this is the one aspect of research that a loath, but I need to suck it up and do it. My goal is to finish organizing everything but the end of this month and start writing. I am hoping to send the proposal to my publisher by May and be damn near done with it by the end of the year. With Jane’s centennial coming up in 2021, that is my publication goal.

Anyone who has followed my Ann Dvorak exploits  knows that I posses that defective collecting gene which tends to overcome my better financial  judgement. After collection Ann Dvorak memorabilia for the last 20 years, I don’t find as much as a used to, so Jane has proven to be a worthy substitute. I have tried to limit myself to photos, though at this point I have way more  than I would ever use in the book, though many of them are pretty great. I’ll probably start sharing some of those here and on social media.

In other words, get ready for a lot of Jane Russell!

Cheers and Happy New Year!