Jane Russell, the voluptuous actress, sex symbol and pinup girl of the '40s and '50s, died Tuesday night of respiratory failure in her California home.

Russell was discovered by a casting agent of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes and cast in his 1943 movie, The Outlaw, which showcased Russell's buxom figure with low-cut costumes. She went on to star in roles like The Paleface, a comedy with Bob Hope, Double Dynamite with Frank Sinatra, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with fellow sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, which allowed her to show off her formidable singing talents.

Russell stopped acting in the late 50s because she was "getting to old!," Us Weekly reports. "You couldn't go on acting in those years if you were an actress over 30." Russell continued to perform at nightclubs and musical theater productions well into her 80s. —KIMBERLY STEELE