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|Born||Linda Marie Mintzer
September 23, 1948
Williamsport, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||May 18, 1981
San Diego, California, United States
|Other names||Lina Russell, Dianna Baker, Tina Russel, Diana Baker, Linda Sanduson, Linda Sanderson|
Tina Russell (September 23, 1948 – May 18, 1981) was the stage name of Linda Marie Mintzer, an adult film actress active in New York City between about 1970 and 1975. She also performed in some of the earliest "live sex shows" to appear in New York in the early 1970s. (The shows actually featured simulated sex.)
Russell was born Linda Marie Mintzer in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to John H. and Margaret (née Ditzler) Mintzer. She grew up in Williamsport and graduated from high school there in 1966. Her senior photo shows a mature brunette with a "Laura Petrie" hairstyle, looking more like a future nurse than a porn star. In the late 1960s, she married photographer John Sanderson, later called Jason Russell, who was several years her senior.
The couple moved to New York City, where Russell enrolled in New York University. Under the pseudonyms Jason and Tina Russell, the couple began their film careers appearing in "loops," very short, plotless pornographic films which were shown in peepshows in New York's Times Square. She became one of the best-known adult film performers of the "Golden Age" of porn, admired for her fresh looks and evident enthusiasm for her on-screen couplings. The Williamsport city directories of 1968–1970 show Russell living at home and listed as a student, but she moved to New York City to attend New York University shortly thereafter.
They appeared in a number of "marriage manual" films during the early 1970s, and Tina Russell was a featured actress in some of the earliest hardcore pornographic feature films to be produced in New York. The two also modeled in sexually oriented photographs and performed in so-called "live sex shows," even though the "sex" of the period was usually pantomimed. After appearing in 16mm "stag" loops, Russell began to take small roles in feature films during the early 1970s. Russell only really acquired star status, however, after the publication of her 1973 memoir, Porno Star, in which she described (in often glowing terms) her life in the New York adult film industry. She and Jason separated shortly thereafter, and Tina's star sank as quickly as it had risen. Rumors of alcohol abuse haunted her later years.
Sometime in the mid-1970s, the Russells's relationship ended. Tina Russell became depressed and alcoholic. She was visiting her brother in San Diego in May 1981 when she collapsed and was hospitalized. She died several days later, on May 18, 1981, of renal failure. Russell is buried in Resurrection Cemetery, Montoursville, Pennsylvania, under her birth name.