William Russell (American actor)
- For the British actor, see William Russell.
|Born||William Francis Lerche
April 12, 1884
New York City, New York, USA
|Died||February 18, 1929
Los Angeles, California, USA
|Years active||c. 1892 to 1929|
|Spouse(s)||Charlotte Burton (1917–1921) (divorce)
Helen Ferguson (1925–1929) (his death)
William Russell (April 12, 1884 – February 18, 1929), born William Francis Lerche, was an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter. He appeared in over two hundred silent era motion pictures between 1910 and 1929, directing five of them in 1916 and producing two through his own production company in 1918 and 1925.
Early life and career 
Born in the Bronx borough of New York City, Russell began his acting career on the stage when he was eight-years-old. He appeared with such notables as Ethel Barrymore, Chauncey Olcott, Blanche Bates, Maude Adams and others.
His career came to a stop at age 16, however, when he became an invalid. Through rigorous physical therapy, he became well again six years later. He then became an amateur boxing champion.
Motion pictures 
Russell began his screen career in New York with the Biograph Company, where he worked for nine months before signing with the Thanhouser Company. He was also part of the company of players for the American Film Manufacturing Company and their Flying "A" Studios in Santa Barbara.
In 1917, he and actress Charlotte Burton were married. They divorced in 1921. He and actress Helen Ferguson were married on June 21, 1925, at the Wilshire Boulevard Congregational Church, after a six year romance.
William Russell died at age 44 from pneumonia at Hollywood Hospital in Los Angeles. He is entombed in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Love, at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale. His brother, director Albert Russell, died two weeks later from pneumonia.
Selected filmography 
- The Railroad Builder (1911)
- The Colonel and the King (1911)
- The Higher Law (1911)
- David Copperfield (1911) as Ham Peggotty (in part two)
- Put Yourself in His Place (1912) as Squire Raby
- The Little Girl Next Door (1912) as The Other Father
- The Star of Bethlehem (1912)
- Some Fools There Were (1913)
- For Her Boy's Sake (1913)
- Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight (1913)
- Some Fools There Were (1913) as Second Unsuspecting Bachelor
- The Caged Bird (1913) as The Farmer
- For Her Boy's Sake (1913)
- The Dilemma (1914)
- Under the Gaslight (1914) as Ray Trafford
- The Dancing Girl (1915) as John Christison
- The Diamond from the Sky (1915) as Blair Stanley
- Sequel to the Diamond from the Sky (1916) as Arthur
- The Thoroughbred (1916) as Kelso Hamilton
- The Smugglers of Santa Cruz (1916)
- The Craving (1916) as Foster Calhoun
- The Bruiser (1916) as "Big Bill" Brawley
- Soul Mates (1916) as Lowell Sherman
- The Highest Bid (1916) as Oliver Strong
- The Strength of Donald McKenzie (1916) as Donald McKenzie
- The Man Who Would Not Die (1916) as Clyde Kingsley/Ward Kingsley
- The Torch Bearer (1916) as John Huntley-Knox
- The Love Hermit (1916) as Tom Weston
- The Twinkler (1916) as Bob Stephany
- My Fighting Gentleman (1917) as Frank Carlisle
- Pride and the Man (1917) as Jack Hastings
- Hearts or Diamonds? (1918) as Larry Hanrahan
- The Lincoln Highwayman (1919) as Jimmy Clunder
- Boston Blackie (1923) as Boston Blackie
- Anna Christie (1923) as Matt Burke
- The Way of a Girl (1925) as Brand
- Big Pal (1925)
- The Blue Eagle (1926) as "Big Tim" Ryan
- The Desired Woman (1927) as Captain Maxwell
- State Street Sadie (1928) as the Bat
- Girls Gone Wild (1929) as Dan Brown
- Soul Mates (1916)
- The Highest Bid (1916)
- The Strength of Donald McKenzie (1916)
- The Man Who Would Not Die (1916)
- The Torch Bearer (1916)
- Pride and the Man (1917)
- "Dan Cupid Bowls Over Film Husky. Film "Strong Man" Weds." Los Angeles Times. Jun. 22, 1925. p A 1.
- "Russell Rites To Be Saturday." Los Angeles Times. Feb. 19, 1929. p. A 1.