MY NEIGHBOR, JANE RUSSELL by Tony Piazza
When I was growing up I heard a number of stories about JANE RUSSELL. I would see her with BOB HOPE and BING CROSBY on Christmas Shows, or in films, but little did I know that many years later I would be living in the same neighborhood, just a couple of blocks down from her home. She was very much a part of our community in the Central Coast. She held neighborhood bible classes, encouraged young talent by sponsoring a variety show at our local venues, took part in our neighborhood block parties, and various other activities that really seem mundane for a woman of her notoriety and stature. We would run into her often at “Bed, Bath, and Beyond” or “Albertsons”. I saw her in her in a plain house coat numerous times collecting her mail when I was walking the dog…just an average good neighbor who took out her garbage like everyone else, yet truly a woman with a remarkable background and career.
My grandfather saw a billboard with this picture and nearly drove off the highway.
When we first moved up to the area, we heard about the talent shows and made a point of attending. It was small and intimate. A meeting room in the Radisson Hotel with a small stage, piano, and tablecloth covered round tables and chairs set out for the guests. She would act as M.C. and talk in-between acts about HOWARD HUGHES, Hollywood, entertaining the troops, Bing, Bob, and many other fascinating topics. She also sang, as did other talented young people…real songs (30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s), with melodies and lyrics that make sense! We saw her shortly before she died at our block party. I can tell that she was failing. She had lost a great deal of weight, but she was still a trooper and got up and sang a tune or two. They don’t make stars like they used to, which makes it all the more sadder when we lose another of them. And in our case we also lost a good neighbor and valuable member to our community as well.
Tony Piazza is author of the 1930s Hollywood murder mystery novel, “Anything Short of Murder,” which had its roots on the TCM fan website. His second novel, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” was next released early 2012, and in July of this year, his latest Tom Logan Mystery, “A Murder Amongst Angels” was published and is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. He was an actor/extra during the 1970s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden. His non-fiction e-book “Bullitt Points” is an in depth look at the making of “Bullitt” from a person who was there. Look for it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites, or at the link posted below. All profits go to the Boys Republic charity: www.bullittpoints.com.
Also: The new Tom Logan mystery thriller, A Murder Amongst Angels is now available!
Find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. Also available for $2.99 on Kindle.