Her son, Buck Waterfield, said she died at her home in Santa Maria, Calif., but did not specify a cause.
Russell first broke into the mainstream in Howard Hughes' film The Outlaw, his challenge to the Hollywood production code that went into effect in the '30s. After the film's 1943 release, she became a star and a pinup girl for many World War II soldiers.
In addition to acting, Russell performed in a gospel group in the mid-'50s and branched out on her own with a Las Vegas nightclub act and a solo album in the latter part of the decade. She made her Broadway debut in 1971 in Stephen Sondheim's Company.
Russell is also best remembered for her work as a spokeswoman for Playtex's "18-hour bras."
She was portrayed by Renee Hendersen in the 2001 CBS mini-series Blonde, based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates.