Russell in October 2007
September 6, 1963
San Diego, California, U.S.
|Residence||Malibu, California, U.S.|
|Spouse(s)||Vincent Van Patten (m. 1989; div. 2001)|
|Relatives||Richard Russell (father)
Max Lerner (grandfather)
Elizabeth "Betsy" Russell (born September 6, 1963) is an American actress who is best known for her roles in Private School (1983) and Tomboy (1985), and as Jill Tuck, one of the primary characters of the Saw film series from 2006–2010.
Russell was born in San Diego, California, the daughter of Constance (née Lerner) and Richard Lion Russell, a stock analyst. Three of her four grandparents were Jewish. Her maternal grandfather was journalist and educator Max Lerner. Russell wanted to be an actress since the age of eight and started acting in school plays. She appeared in a Pepsi commercial that was taped locally while in high school. After graduating from Mission Bay High School in 1981, she moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes before landing her first role. She did a masters program in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica and is a certified hypnotist and life coach, also from the University of Santa Monica.
Russell's first role was in the 1982 film Let's Do It! That same year, she landed roles on T. J. Hooker, Family Ties and The Powers of Matthew Star. In 1983, Russell's breakout role came as Jordan Leigh-Jenson in the sex comedy, Private School. While shooting the film Avenging Angel, she was offered to audition for the 1985 film Silverado but turned it down. She said in an interview, "Everything happens for a reason. I always believe my career would have been different had I done that part. I can’t say if it would have been better or worse. I’ve had a great run". She went on to star in a series of B movies in the 1980s including Tomboy, and Cheerleader Camp. In addition to films, Russell also appeared on The A-Team, Murder, She Wrote, 1st & Ten, and an episode of Superboy, which was a reunion with her Tomboy co-star Gerard Christopher.
After a brief retirement from acting, Russell appeared in a small role in Saw III playing John Kramer's ex-wife, Jill Tuck. She went on to star in the sequels, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, and Saw 3D. She played a role in the 2010 film Chain Letter, the SyFy film Mandrake, and My Trip Back to the Dark Side.
In August 1988, Russell was engaged to actor Vincent Van Patten, son of Dick Van Patten. They were married nine months later on May 27, 1989 in North Hollywood. Their wedding reception was at Van Patten's father's Sherman Oaks home which was attended by numerous A-list celebrities. They divorced in 2001 and have two children: Richard Van Patten (March 1993) and Vincent Van Patten, Jr. (September 3, 1995) Russell was once engaged to producer Mark Burg.
|1982||Let's Do It!||Kittie|
|1983||Private School||Jordan Leigh-Jenson||Alternative title: Private School... for Girls|
|1985||Avenging Angel||Molly "Angel" Stewart|
|1985||Tomboy||Tomasina "Tommy" Boyd|
|1985||Out of Control||Chrissie Baret|
|1987||Cheerleader Camp||Alison Wentworth||Alternative title: Bloody Pom Poms|
|1989||Trapper County War||Lacey Luddigger|
|1991||Camp Fear||Jamie||Alternative title: The Millennium Countdown|
|1992||Delta Heat||Vicky Forbes|
|2006||Saw III||Jill Tuck|
|2007||Saw IV||Jill Tuck|
|2008||Saw V||Jill Tuck|
|2009||Saw VI||Jill Tuck|
|2010||Chain Letter||Sergeant Hamill|
|2010||Saw 3D||Jill Tuck||Won Eyegore Award|
|2013||Knock 'em Dead||Louanne||Post-production|
|2013||My Trip Back to the Dark Side||Destiny|
|1982||The Powers of Matthew Star||Dawn||Episode: "Jackal"|
|1982||T. J. Hooker||Teenager||Episode: "Second Chance"|
|1982||Family Ties||Girl||Episode: "Not with My Sister You Don't"|
|1984, 1986||The A-Team||Tina
|Episode: "Bullets and Bikinis"
Episode: "Members Only"
|1986||Murder, She Wrote||Doris Robinson||Episode: "Menace, Anyone?"|
|1st & Ten||Episode: "Yinessa's Interview"
Episode: "Easy Come, Easy Go
Episode: "The Big One"
|1987||Roxanne: The Prize Pulitzer||Liza Pulitzer||Television film|
|1987||Superboy||Serene||Episode: "Superboy... Rest in Peace"|
|1995||Platypus Man||Becky||Episode: "The Crush"|
|2010||Mandrake||Felicia||Television film on SyFy|
- "Betsy Russell Biography". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
- "MARRIAGE IN APRIL FOR MISS C. LERNER; Columnist's Daughter Engaged to Richard Russell, Former Air Force Bombardier". The New York Times. Russell is of Jewish descent, (3 of her 4 grandparents are Jewish)The New York Times Company. February 15, 1953. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
- McDonald, Patrick (October 27, 2010). "Interview: Betsy Russell Completes the Jigsaw Puzzle in 'Saw 3D'". HollywoodChicago.com. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- Farinella, Tony (October 24, 2008). "411 Movies Interview: Betsy Russell of Saw V". 411Mania.com. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- Aushenker, Michael (October 13, 2010). "Malibu's queen of Halloween". The Malibu Times. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- Topel, Fred (October 26, 2007). "Betsy Russell on Saw IV". CraveOnline. Retrieved May 31, 2008.
- Miska, Brad (November 8, 2009). "AFM '09: New Films Acquires 'Chain Letter', New Trailer". Bloody Disgusting. The Collective. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- Seidman, Robert (August 30, 2010). "Syfy Original Movie 'Mandrake' Premieres Saturday, September 11 at 9pm". TVbytheNumbers. Zap2it. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- Bryant, Jessica (August 26, 2010). "Haute Secrets Los Angeles: Betsy Russell". Haute Living Magazine. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Swertlow, Frank (June 2, 1989). "Hollywood Freeway - Tears and Cheers for 'Phantom'". Los Angeles Daily News. MediaNews Group.
- Noor, Star (November 2010). "Betsy Russell on MF Magazine". Music Fashion Magazine. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- "Biography for Vincent Van Patten". TCMDb. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Bowles, Duncan (November 9, 2009). "Interview with Saw actress Betsy Russell". Den of Geek. Retrieved December 22, 2010.