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Mary Kenny

Did Jane Russell's adoption of an Irish baby start a trend?

Mary Kenny



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Happy together: US film star Jane Russell with her adopted son Tommy

Happy together: US film star Jane Russell with her adopted son Tommy

Happy together: US film star Jane Russell with her adopted son Tommy

Jane Russell was, in her time, a very famous film star - you may have seen her alongside Marilyn Monroe in the classic Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, released in 1953.

She first hit notoriety when she starred in Howard Hughes' The Outlaw as a sulky, sexy, siren lying on a bed of straw: Hughes, an engineer, had designed a special cantilevered bra to the shape of Jane's voluptuous figure (although she says in her autobiography that she never actually wore it).

When she was 18 years old, she slept with her boyfriend and became pregnant. "In those days, no 'nice girl' got pregnant," she wrote in her autobiography. "There was no such thing as keeping a child out of wedlock in 1942. The only solution was to find a quack and get an abortion." This was California, and she duly found a "quack", who did the job and was subsequently described as a "butcher" by the doctor who patched her up.


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