Thrust into show business by her domineering mother, Gail Russell was a chronically shy teenager terrified of acting. To fight off her debilitating stage fright, she turned to the bottle…and then the bottle turned on her. This train wreck actress just couldn’t cope with her own anxieties and her downward spiral was one of Old Hollywood’s most tragic stories.

1. She Was Under Pressure

Gail Russell’s mother, Gladys, had always wanted to be a Hollywood star, but her dreams didn’t come true. However, when she gave birth to a baby girl on September 21, 1924, a whole new world of opportunity opened up to her: Her daughter could be the star that Gladys herself had failed to become. Unfortunately, one huge problem stood in her way. 

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