Jane Russell was a full-figured woman with flare and attitude. She spoke her mind and wasn't afraid of what people thought of her. I think her impervious personality, her thoughtfulness as well as her down-to-earth nature was what Robert Mitchum, her best friend for many years, admired so much about her. In fact, she was the only non-family member who attended the spreading of Mitchum's ashes.
In the book Baby I Don't Care: Robert Mitchum, Lee Server says the following about Russell's early friendship with Mitchum.
Bob and Jane got along like old buddies... She would rave about his astounding command of the English language - even as he would tell her she was the most inarticulate girl he knew. He would tease her about her God-fearing ways, but he understood she was no Loretta Young, wallowing in piety. He loved to tell the one about the pestering report who couldn't believe a girl with her 'image' read the Bible and went to church each Sunday. 'Hey buddy,' she told him, 'Christians have big breasts, too.' She was good-natured, generous, strong-minded when she had to be, a stand-up guy. Mitchum nickname her 'Hard John.' They became fast friends.
If you haven't seen the Private Screenings episode with Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell being interviewed by Robert Osborne, I highly suggest you watch it. You learn a lot about both of the actors as well as their dealings with Howard Hughes and their days at RKO. I hope TCM will show it soon with Jane Russell's recent passing.
God Speed Jane Russell. Hope you'll continue to be fabulous wherever you are.
Here is the trailer to my favorite Jane Russell film, His Kind of Woman (1951).