Born in Los Angeles on January 3, 1921, John Russell was an athletic youth who majored in drama in college. But with the outbreak of World War II, Russell enlisted in the Marines and returned from the war as a decorated veteran. He was discovered by a talent scout in the mid 1940s, and 20th Century-Fox eventually signed the handsome 6'3" actor to a contract. Russell began his film career with small parts in such films as Don Juan Quilligan (1945; with William Bendix) and Somewhere in the Night (1946; with John Hodiak and Richard Conte). In 1949, he left Fox for Universal-International and was cast as a featured player in a number of westerns and film noir thrillers, often in villainous roles. Some of his better films from this period include the film noir thrillers The Story of Molly X (1949; with June Havoc), The Fat Man (1951; with Julie London and Rock Hudson), and Hoodlum Empire (1952; with Brian Donlevy) and the westerns Man in the Saddle (1951; with Randolph Scott), Jubilee Trail (1954; with Vera Ralston and Joan Leslie), and The Last Command (1955; with Sterling Hayden and Richard Carlson). Russell left Universal-International in the early 1950s and freelanced at Columbia and Republic, among other studios. In 1955, he signed to do his first TV series, the syndicated adventure Soldiers of Fortune produced by Revue. Cast as Russell's sidekick was comedian Chick Chandler. The series ran for 52 episodes before being canceled in late 1956. After a few more films, Russell returned to television in 1958 when he signed a contract with Warner Bros. and was cast as Marshal Dan Troop in the ABC western series Lawman. Co-starring Peter Brown and Peggie Castle, the popular half-hour series aired until the fall of 1962.

the films of john russell

Forever Amber (1947)

John Russell and Linda Darnell

With Linda Darnell in the 20th Century-Fox costume drama Forever Amber

The Story of Molly X (1949)

John Russell and June Havoc in The Story of Molly XJohn Russell and June Havoc in The Story of Molly XJohn Russell and June HavocJohn Russell

With June Havoc in Universal-International's film noir thriller The Story of Molly X

Slattery's Hurricane (1949)

John Russell and Linda Darnell

From the 20th Century Fox adventure Slattery's Hurricane with Linda Darnell

Frenchie (1950)

John Russell

From the Universal-International western Frenchie

The Fat Man (1951)

J. Scott Smart and John RussellJ. Scott Smart and John RussellJohn Russell

LEFT and CENTER: From Universal-International's noirish mystery The Fat Man with sleuth J. Scott Smart. RIGHT: Promotional photo

Oklahoma Annie (1952)

John Russell, Si Jenkins, Judy Canova, and Frank Ferguson

With Si Jenkins, Judy Canova, and Frank Ferguson in the Republic comedy Oklahoma Annie

Jubilee Trail (1954)

Joan Leslie and John Russell

From the Republic western Jubilee Trail with Joan Leslie

Soldiers of Fortune (1955–1957 Syndicated TV Series)

Chick Chandler and John Russell

With sidekick Chick Chandler in Russell's 1955-1957 TV series Soldiers of Fortune

Hell Bound (1957)

Margo Woode, John Russell, and June Blair

Russell is flanked by Margo Woode and June Blair in this promotional photo from the United Artists film noir release Hell Bound

Untamed Youth (1957)

John Russell and Mamie Van Doren

With Mamie Van Doren in the exploitation flick Untamed Youth

Fort Massacre (1958)

John Russell, Susan Cabot, Larry Chance, and Joel McCreaSusan Cabot and John Russell

LEFT: With Susan Cabot, Larry Chance, and Joel McCrea in Fort Massacre. RIGHT: With Susan Cabot

Lawman (1958-1962 ABC TV series)

John RussellJohn Russell in The LawmanJohn Russell and Peter BrownJohn Russell and Peggie Castle

LEFT and CENTER A: Russell as Marshal Dan Troop on Lawman. CENTER B: With costar Peter Brown. RIGHT: With series regular Peggie Castle

Yellowstone Kelly (1959)

Edd Byrnes, Clint Walker, and John Russell

From the Warner Bros. western Yellowstone Kelly with Edd Byrnes and Clint Walker

Hostile Guns (1967)

John Russell

From the Paramount western Hostile Guns

later years

When Lawman was canceled in 1962, John Russell parted ways with Warner Bros. Oddly, his acting career floundered for several years, perhaps as a result of typecasting. Yet he managed to find work in films from the mid 1960s through the early 1980s, including the westerns Hostile Guns (1967; with George Montgomery and Tab Hunter) and Cannon for Cordoba (1970; with George Peppard and Peter Duel), as well as the horror flick Blood Legacy (1971; with Faith Domergue and Merry Anders). He also worked in television, guest-starring on popular programs such as It Takes a Thief and Alias Smith and Jones and was a regular on the late 1970s Saturday morning series Jason of Star Command. In the 1980s, Russell fell ill with emphysema and worked very little. Of his later film appearances, his best role came in the 1985 Clint Eastwood western Pale Rider. Sadly, John Russell passed away at the age of 70 of complications from emphysema on January 19, 1991. He was survived by three children.

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Under the Gun (1989) with Nick Cassavetes and Bill McKinney
Pale Rider (1985) with Clint Eastwood and Carrie Snodgress
Honkytonk Man (1982) with Clint Eastwood
Uncle Scam (1981) with Joan Rivers
The Father Kino Story (1977) with Ricardo Montalban, Richard Egan, Rory Calhoun, Aldo Ray, Cesar Romero, and John Ireland
Where the Wind Dies (1976) with Tippi Hedren and Mala Powers
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) with Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Bill McKinney, and Joyce Jameson
Fugitive Lovers (1975) with Virginia Mayo, Jeff Morrow, and Juanita Moore
Lord Shango (1975) with Marlene Clark
Noon Sunday (1975)
Blood Legacy (1971) with Faith Domergue, Merry Anders, John Carradine, John Smith, Jeff Morrow, and Richard Davalos
Smoke in the Wind (1971) with John Ashley and Myron Healey
Alias Smith and Jones (1971) with Peter Duel, Ben Murphy, Sid Haig, and Bill McKinney
Cannon for Cordoba (1970) with George Peppard, Peter Duel, and Francine York
Fireball Jungle (1969) with Lon Chaney Jr.
Buckskin (1968) with Barry Sullivan, Wendell Corey, Joan Caulfield, Lon Chaney Jr., Barbara Hale, Bill Williams, and Richard Arlen
If He Hollers, Let Him Go! (1968) with Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, and James Craig
Fort Utah (1967) with John Ireland, Virginia Mayo, Scott Brady, Richard Arlen, and James Craig
Hostile Guns (1967) with George Montgomery, Yvonne De Carlo, Tab Hunter, Brian Donlevy, Richard Arlen, and James Craig
Apache Uprising (1966) with Rory Calhoun, Corinne Calvet, Lon Chaney Jr., Richard Arlen, and Johnny Mack Brown
Yellowstone Kelly (1959) with Clint Walker, Ray Danton, Edd Byrnes, and Rhodes Reason
Rio Bravo (1959) with John Wayne, Angie Dickinson, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson
Fort Massacre (1958) with Joel McCrea, Susan Cabot, and Forrest Tucker
The Dalton Girls (1957) with Merry Anders, Penny Edwards, and Lisa Davis
Hell Bound (1957) with Stuart Whitman
Untamed Youth (1957) with Mamie Van Doren, Lori Nelson, and Yvonne Lime
The Last Command (1955) with Sterling Hayden, Richard Carlson, Virginia Grey, and Ernest Borgnine
Hell's Outpost (1954) with Rod Cameron, Joan Leslie, and Chill Wills
Jubilee Trail (1954) with Vera Ralston, Forrest Tucker, and Joan Leslie
The Sun Shines Bright (1953) with Arleen Whelan and Stepin Fetchit
Fair Wind to Java (1953) with Fred MacMurray and Vera Ralston
Hoodlum Empire (1952) with Brian Donlevy, Forrest Tucker, and Vera Ralston
Oklahoma Annie (1952) with Judy Canova and Grant Withers
The Barefoot Mailman (1951) with Robert Cummings and Terry Moore
Man in the Saddle (1951) with Randolph Scott, Joan Leslie, Cameron Mitchell, and Ellen Drew
Fighting Coast Guard (1951) with Brian Donlevy, Forrest Tucker, Hugh O'Brian, Martin Milner, and Ella Raines
The Fat Man (1951) with Julie London and Rock Hudson
Frenchie (1950) with Joel McCrea, Marie Windsor, and Shelley Winters
Saddle Tramp (1950) with Joel McCrea and Wanda Hendrix
The Story of Molly X (1949) with June Havoc and Sandra Gould
Undertow (1949) with Scott Brady, Bruce Bennett, Peggy Dow, and Rock Hudson
The Gal Who Took the West (1949) with Yvonne De Carlo and Scott Brady
Slattery's Hurricane (1949) with Veronica Lake, Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, and Gary Merrill
Yellow Sky (1948) with Gregory Peck, Anne Baxter, and Richard Widmark
Sitting Pretty (1948) with Robert Young, Maureen O'Hara, Clifton Webb, and Betty Lynn
Forever Amber (1947) with Cornel Wilde, Linda Darnell, Glenn Langan, and George Sanders
The Dark Corner (1946) with Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, Mark Stevens, and Cathy Downs
Within These Walls (1945) with Mark Stevens
Don Juan Quilligan (1945) with Joan Blondell, William Bendix, Anne Revere, and Phil Silvers

Jason of Star Command, 1979-1981 TV series. Russell portrayed Commander Stone during the 1980-1981 season. Also in the cast were Tamara Dobson, Sid Haig, and Francine York
Lawman, 1958-1962 ABC TV series. Russell portrayed Marshal Dan Troop. Also in the cast were Peter Brown and Peggie Castle
Soldiers of Fortune, 1955-1957 syndicated TV series. Russell portrayed Tim Kelly

The Fall Guy, episode King of the Cowboys, originally aired February 29, 1984
Simon & Simon, episode Rough Rider Rides Again, originally aired November 18, 1982
Police Story, episode Love, Mabel, originally aired November 26, 1974
McCloud, episode The Concrete Jungle Caper, originally aired November 24, 1974
Gunsmoke, episode The Iron Men, originally aired October 21, 1974
Emergency!, episode Understanding, originally aired December 15, 1973
Alias Smith and Jones, episode Witness to a Lynching, originally aired December 16, 1972
Alias Smith and Jones, episode The Day the Amnesty Came Through, originally aired November 25, 1972
Alias Smith and Jones, episode Which Way to the O.K. Corral?, originally aired February 10, 1972
It Takes a Thief, episode A Friend in Deed, originally aired November 27, 1969
It Takes a Thief, episode Payoff in the Piazza, originally aired November 13, 1969
It Takes a Thief, episode The Blue, Blue Danube, originally aired October 30, 1969
It Takes a Thief, episode Saturday Night in Venice, originally aired September 25, 1969
It Takes a Thief, episode Guess Who's Coming to Rio?, originally aired January 7, 1969
Daniel Boone, episode The Prophet, originally aired January 21, 1965
Maverick, episode Hadley's Hunters, originally aired September 25, 1960
Northwest Passage, episode The Killers, originally aired March 13, 1959
Maverick, episode Lonesome Reunion, originally aired September 28, 1958
Sugarfoot, episode Ring of Sand, originally aired September 16, 1958
Cheyenne, episode Dead to Rights, originally aired May 20, 1958
Cheyenne, episode The Empty Gun, originally aired February 25, 1958
Maverick, episode Rage for Vengeance, originally aired January 12, 1958
The Gale Storm Show, episode It's Only Money, originally aired October 12, 1957
Studio 57, episode The Senorita and the Texan, originally aired September 25, 1955

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Watch John Russell's 1951 noir thriller The Fat Man
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