Jane Russell, the sexy brunette who was discovered by Howard Hughes and went on to become one of the biggest stars of the 1940s and '50s,  has died.

She was 89.  Russell died yesterday at her home in Santa Maria of a respiratory-related illness.  Hughes cast Russell in his sexy and controversial 1941 western, "The Outlaw," turning her into an overnight star.

She would go on to appear opposite such leading men as Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope, as well as fellow actress Marilyn Monroe.  During the 1970s, Russell was widely recognized as the spokesperson for Playtex bras, appearing in national TV commercials for the "Cross Your Heart" bra campaign.