Bing Russell

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Bing Russell
Born Neil Oliver Russell
May 5, 1926(1926-05-05)
Brattleboro, Vermont, USA
Died April 8, 2003(2003-04-08) (aged 76)
Thousand Oaks, California
Cause of death Cancer
Occupation Actor, Baseball club owner
Years active 1951–1990
Spouse Louise Julia Crone
Children 4, including Kurt Russell

Bing Russell (May 5, 1926 - April 8, 2003) was an American actor and baseball club owner. He was the father of Golden Globe nominated actor, Kurt Russell. Russell was also grandfather of a former major league baseball player, Matt Franco.

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. [1] 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.[1]

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.

In 1979, Kurt Russell had the role of Elvis Presley in a television movie, Elvis and Bing Russell played his father, Vernon Presley.

Baseball[change | change source]

Bing Russell owned the Portland Mavericks, the only independent team in their league, from 1973 through 1977. He kept more players on his team than he needed, because he thought the players deserved to play for one last season. He believed in his players having fun. Many players who were not good enough for other teams came to his June try-outs. They were always open to anyone who showed up.

Documentary[change | change source]

Archived movie film of Russell and his team became part of the 2014 documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Kurt Russell, Bing's son, who played for the Mavericks and was vice president for the team, is in the movie.[2] It was directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, grandsons of Russell.[3] The movie was first shown at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2014.[4] It began being shown on Netflix on July 11, 2014.[5]

Death[change | change source]

Russell died from being sick with cancer on April 8, 2003 in Thousand Oaks, California.

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]