Gail Russell

Gail Russell


Gail Russell
Film: North side of the 6900 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Sept. 21, 1924 in Chicago, Ill.
Died Aug. 27, 1961 in Westwood, CA

Gail Russell was a movie star at 18 and a has-been by 30.

She was dead at 36, plagued for years by a drinking problem. Russell was found in her modest Westwood home, an empty vodka bottle at her side on the living room floor where she had apparently fallen from the couch.

Russell was discovered by the movies when she was a 17-year old student at Santa Monica High School.

Voted "Star of Tomorrow" by exhibitors in 1947, Russell suffered emotional problems throughout her meteoric career which hit the skids before the first of a series of drunk driving arrests in 1954.

Described as a perfectionist in movie work, Russell never got over her shyness of "nerves." Reporters said she would get up and walk out of a room during an interview if a question embarrassed her.

While attempting a comeback in 1956, Russell tried to explain her problems.

"Everything happened so fast," she said. "I was going to high school and the next thing I knew I was being groomed for a picture. There was this terrific mountain of work and no time to catch up with myself. It was that way for 10 years — always a sens of pressure no time to relax, to take stock."

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