Bing Russell

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Bing Russell
Born Neil Oliver Russell
(1926-05-05)May 5, 1926
Brattleboro, Vermont, USA
Died April 8, 2003(2003-04-08) (aged 76)
Thousand Oaks, California
Cause of death Cancer
Occupation Actor
Years active 1951 (1951)–1990 (1990)
Spouse(s) Louise Julia Crone (married 1946-2003)
Children Four (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 and grandfather of ex-major league baseball player Matt Franco.

Personal life[edit]

Russell was born Neil Oliver Russell in Brattleboro, Vermont, the son of Ruth Stewart (née Vogel) and Warren Oliver Russell. He always wanted to become an actor and studied drama at Brattleboro High School. As a boy, he was dubbed an unofficial mascot of the New York Yankees, becoming good friends with the likes of Lefty Gomez and Joe DiMaggio.[1] Also, Lou Gehrig, who was already weakened by illness, gave him the last bat he used to hit a home run before his retirement.[1]


Russell made his debut in the film Cavalry Patrol, and had some uncredited roles in his early career.

Best known as Deputy Clem Foster on Bonanza (1959) and Robert in The Magnificent Seven (1960), he guest starred in episodes of many television series.

In 1963, he was cast as John Quigley, a Chicago mobster, in the episode "Five Tickets to Hell" of Jack Webb's CBS anthology series, GE True. In the story line, Quigley travels to Chihuahua, Mexico, where he robs the mint of $500,000 and kills seven men in the commission of the crime. Police Lieutenant Juan Garcia (Carlos Romero) tracks down Quigley and his three accomplices. Barbara Luna also appears in the episode.[2]

Russell played Vernon Presley to his son Kurt's Elvis Presley in the 1979 television movie, Elvis.

Russell owned the Portland Mavericks, the only independent team in the Class A Northwest League. Russell kept a 30-man roster because he believed that some of the players deserved to have one last season. His motto was fun. He created a park that kept all corporate sponsorship outside the gates, hired the first female general manager, Lanny Moss [3] in professional baseball, and named the first Asian American GM/Manager. His team set a record for the highest attendance in minor league history, but lost the 1977 pennant to the Bellingham Mariners. Subsequently, Major League Baseball regained interest in Portland and resurrected the Portland Beavers minor league franchise. The Portland area was recovered but paid Russell the highest payout in history for a minor league territory after Russell took the matter to arbitration. Ex-major leaguers and never-weres who could not stop playing the game flocked to his June try-outs, which were always open to anyone who showed up. The team and archival footage of Russell were featured in the 2014 documentary The Battered Bastards of Baseball.

Russell died from complications of cancer on April 8, 2003 in Thousand Oaks, California.



  1. ^ a b Hoffarth, Tom. "From Gehrig to Bing to Kurt to Matt: A bat, and the story that went with it". Farther off the wall (blog). Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  2. ^ "GE True". Classic Television Archive. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ Sports Illustrated vault: Scorecard: Lanny Moss

External links[edit]