She was born into wealth and privilege but for Golden Age moviegoers, Rosalind Russell represented the epitome of the working woman. Warehoused as a Universal acquisition and underutilized at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the lanky, dark-eyed actress tested her comic chops in George Cukor's "The Women" (1939) before coming into her own as Cary Grant's co-star in Howard Hawks' "His Girl Friday" (1940) - a role refused by almost every A-list actress in Hollywood. Tailoring the script to the talents of his stars, whom he encouraged to ad lib for the camera, Hawks delivered the rare Hollywood hit to please critics and audiences alike, while Russell made of her brassy distaff journalist Hildy Johnson a role model for American women braving the male-dominated workforce. If Russell's subsequent films rarely matched the quality of "His Girl Friday," she found greater satisfaction on stage, winning a Tony for "Wonderful Town" in 1953 and reprising her 1956 Broadway success as "Auntie Mame" in Warner Brothers' lavish Technicolor film adaptation. The four-time Academy Award nominee transitioned deftly to middle-age, playing a small town spinster in "Picnic" (1955) and mentoring Natalie Wood's budding burlesque star in "Gypsy" (1962). Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, Russell threw herself into charity work, for which she received the 1973 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award only a few years before breast cancer robbed Hollywood of one of its most unique talents, a glamorous leading lady with the soul of a vaudevillian.