Gail Russell

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Gail Russell
Gail Russell in Wake of the Red Witch trailer.jpg
Born Elizabeth L. Russell
(1924-09-21)September 21, 1924
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died August 26, 1961(1961-08-26) (aged 36)
Brentwood, Los Angeles
California
Cause of death
Liver damage resulting from alcoholism
Resting place
Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California
Occupation Actress
Years active 1943–1961
Spouse(s) Guy Madison (1949–1954) (divorced)

Gail Russell (September 21, 1924 – August 26, 1961) was an American film and television actress.

Career[edit]

She was born Elizabeth L. Russell to George and Gladys (Barnet) Russell in Chicago, Illinois, and then moved to the Los Angeles, California, area when she was a teenager. Russell's extraordinary beauty brought her to the attention of Paramount Pictures in 1942. Although she was almost clinically shy and had no acting experience, Paramount had great expectations for her and employed an acting coach to work with her.

At the age of 19 she appeared in her first film, Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour (1943). Russell appeared in several more films in the early and mid-1940s, the most notable being The Uninvited (1944) with Ray Milland and Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (1944), in which she co-starred with Diana Lynn. Russell later appeared in the more popular films Calcutta (1947) with Alan Ladd and the two with John Wayne, Angel and the Badman (1947) and Wake of the Red Witch (1948).

Later career and personal life[edit]

With John Wayne (1947)

She continued working after 1947, and married actor Guy Madison in 1949, but by 1950 it was well known that she had become a victim of alcoholism, and Paramount did not renew her contract. She had started drinking on the set of The Uninvited to ease her paralyzing stage fright and lack of self-confidence.[1] Alcohol made a shambles of her career, appearance and personal life. She was divorced by Madison in 1954[2] and, after a five-year absence, returned to work in a co-starring role with Randolph Scott in the western Seven Men from Now (1956), produced by her friend Wayne, and had a substantial role in The Tattered Dress (1957).

On July 5, 1957, she was photographed by a Los Angeles Times photographer after she drove her convertible into the front of Jan's coffee shop at 8424 Beverly Blvd. After failing a sobriety test, Russell was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.[3]

Death[edit]

She appeared in two more films after that but was not able to control her addiction, and on August 26, 1961, Russell was found dead in her apartment in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, at the age of 36. She died from liver damage attributed to long-term alcohol abuse.[4] She was also found to have been suffering from malnutrition at the time of her death.[5] She was buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1943 Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour Virginia Lowry Alternative title: Henry Gets Glamour
1944 Lady in the Dark Barbara (at 17)
1944 The Uninvited Stella Meredith
1944 Our Hearts Were Young and Gay Cornelia Otis Skinner
1945 Salty O'Rourke Barbara Brooks
1945 The Unseen Elizabeth Howard
1946 Our Hearts Were Growing Up Cornelia Otis Skinner
1946 The Bachelor's Daughters Eileen Alternative title: Bachelor Girls
1947 Angel and the Badman Penelope Worth Alternative title: Angel and the Outlaw
1947 Calcutta Virginia Moore
1948 Moonrise Gilly Johnson
1948 Night Has a Thousand Eyes Jean Courtland
1948 Wake of the Red Witch Angelique Desaix
1949 Song of India Princess Tara
1949 El Paso Susan Jeffers
1949 The Great Dan Patch Cissy Lathrop Alternative title: Ride a Reckless Mile
1950 Captain China Kim Mitchell
1950 The Lawless Sunny Garcia Alternative title: The Dividing Line
1951 Air Cadet Janet Page Alternative title: Jet Men of the Air
1956 Studio 57 Episode: "Time, Tide and a Woman"
1956 Seven Men from Now Annie Greer
1957 The Tattered Dress Carol Morrow
1958 No Place to Land Lynn Dillon Alternative title: Man Mad
1960 The Rebel Cassandra Episode: "Noblesse Oblige"
1960 Manhunt Mrs. Clarke Episode: "Matinee Mobster"
1961 The Silent Call Flore Brancato

References[edit]

  1. ^ Porter, Darwin (2005). Howard Hughes: Hell's Angel. Blood Moon Productions, Ltd. p. 618. ISBN 0-9748118-1-5. 
  2. ^ Donnelley, Paul (2003). Fade To Black: A Book Of Movie Obituaries (2nd ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 823. ISBN 0-7119-9512-5. 
  3. ^ Coates, Paul V.; Harnisch, Larry (2007-07-05). "Gail Russell: In memoriam". latimesblogs.latimes.com. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  4. ^ Davis, Ronald L (2001). Duke: The Life and Image of John Wayne. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-8061-3329-4. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ Brettell, Andrew; King, Noel; Kennedy, Damien; Imwold, Denise (2005). Cut!: Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies. Leonard, Warren Hsu; von Rohr, Heather. Barrons Educational Series. p. 251. ISBN 0-7641-5858-9. 

External links[edit]