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Bing Russell
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, Baseball club owner
Years active 1951–1990
Spouse(s) Louise Julia Crone
Children 4, including Kurt Russell

Bing Russell (May 5, 1926 - April 8, 2003) was an American actor and baseball club owner. He was best known for playing the role of Deputy Clem Foster on Bonanza, beginning in 1959 and of Robert in The Magnificent Seven in 1960.

Russell was the father of Golden Globe nominated actor, Kurt Russell. He was also grandfather of an American actor, Wyatt Russell, who is also a former professional hockey player. Wyatt is the son of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Russell was also grandfather of a former major league baseball player, Matt Franco, who is Kurt Russell's nephew.

Early life

He was born in Brattleboro, Vermont and grew up wanting to be an actor. He studied drama at his high school. As a boy, he became an unofficial mascot of the New York Yankees, becoming friends with the players Lefty Gomez and Joe DiMaggio. Another Yankees batter, Lou Gehrig, gave him the last bat he used to hit a home run before he retired, due to the illness ALS.

Acting career

Russell was best known for playing the role of the deputy sheriff in Bonanza along with Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, and Pernell Roberts. Bonanza was a popular cowboy television series on the NBC network that aired from 1959-1973. He had a cowboy role in the movie The Magnificent Seven in 1960. He also guest starred in episodes of many television series during his acting career.

In 1979, Kurt Russell had the role of Elvis Presley in a television movie, Elvis and Bing Russell played his father, Vernon Presley.


Bing Russell owned the Portland Mavericks, the only independent team in their league, from 1973 through 1977. He kept more players on his team than he needed, because he thought the players deserved to play for one last season. He believed in his players having fun. Many players who were not good enough for other teams came to his June try-outs. They were always open to anyone who showed up.

The Battered Bastards of Baseball

The Battered Bastards of Baseball
Directed by Chapman Way
Maclain Way
Produced by Juliana Lembi
Music by Brocker Way
Cinematography Chapman Way
Editing by Chapman Way
Distributed by Netflix
Release date(s) January 20, 2014 (2014-01-20) (Sundance)
Running time 73 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Archived movie film of Russell and his team became part of the 2014 documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball.

Kurt Russell, Russell's son, who played for the Mavericks and was vice president for the team, is in the movie. It was directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, grandsons of Russell. The movie was first shown at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2014. It began being shown on Netflix on July 11, 2014.

The Battered Bastards of Baseball got positive reviews from critics.

Scott Foundas of Variety, said that "So rife with underdog victors and hairpin twists of fortune that, if it weren't all true, no one would believe it." Duane Byrge, writing in The Hollywood Reporter, praised the movie. He said that "The Battered Bastards of Baseball is not just about baseball. It transcends the game and is a charming anti-establishment yarn that should delight audiences who don't even know an r.b.i. from a balk."

Dustin Krcatovich, from Esquire, wrote "easily one of the most raucously entertaining films to come out this year, and the best sports documentary in a while." Katie Walsh of Indiewire gave the movie a B+ grade. She said "The Batterered Bastards of Baseball is an entertaining celebration of the independent spirit and the love of the game."

The New York Daily News listed the documentary as one of the 10 best movies of 2014.


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

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