|Born||Neil Oliver Russell
May 5, 1926
Brattleboro, Vermont, USA
|Died||April 8, 2003
Thousand Oaks, California
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Occupation||Actor, Baseball club owner|
|Spouse||Louise Julia Crone|
|Children||4, including Kurt Russell|
Early life[change | change source]
He was born in Brattleboro, Vermont and grew up wanting to be an actor. He studied drama at his high school. As a boy, he became an unofficial mascot of the New York Yankees, becoming friends with the players Lefty Gomez and Joe DiMaggio.  Another Yankees batter, Lou Gehrig, gave him the last bat he used to hit a home run before he retired, due to the illness ALS.
Acting career[change | change source]
Russell was best known for playing the role of the deputy sheriff in Bonanza along with Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, and Pernell Roberts. Bonanza was a popular cowboy series on the NBC television network that played from 1959-1973. He also had a cowboy role in the movie The Magnificent Seven in 1960 and also guest starred on other television shows throughtout his acting career.
Baseball[change | change source]
Russell owned the Portland Mavericks, the only independent team in their league. He kept more players on his team than he needed, because he believed the players deserved to have one last season to play. He was also grandfather of a former major league baseball player, Matt Franco.
Death[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- Hoffarth, Tom. "From Gehrig to Bing to Kurt to Matt: A bat, and the story that went with it". Farther off the wall (blog). http://insidesocal.com/tomhoffarth/archives/2011/11/from-gehrig-to.html. Retrieved November 12, 2011.