Jane Russell

Jane Russell (Getty Images

SANTA MARIA -- Actress Jane Russell passed away at her home in Santa Maria Monday.

Russell died of respiratory problems. She was 89 years old.

The actress was best known for her films during the 1940s and 1950s.

Russell who became a star with the 1943 release of "The Outlaw," Howard Hughes' challenge to the Hollywood production code.

Russell went on to play Calamity Jane opposite Bob Hope in "The Paleface" (1948), and she starred with Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 musical "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

Russell was considered one of America's most well known sex symbols of her time.

She became a bona fide star and a favorite pinup girl of soldiers during World War II.

"Meanwhile, Hughes brilliantly publicized the film, issuing Russell-in-the-haystack posters with such lines as 'How Would You Like to Tussle With Russell?' and 'Mean! Moody! Magnificent!' In one publicity stunt, a skywriter wrote 'The Outlaw' in the sky and then carefully drew two circles with a dot in the center of each."

Some readers will remember Russell as a pitchwoman for Playtex bras, for "full-figured women."

Troops in Korea named two embattled hills in her honor.

The aging actress moved to Santa Maria 11 years ago from Montecito to be closer to her son.

Russell leaves behind three grown children, a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law.

She also has six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.