William Russell

William Russell (April 12, 1884 – February 18, 1929) was an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter. He appeared in over 200 silent era motion pictures between 1910 and 1929, directing five of them in 1916 and producing two through his own production company in 1918 and 1925. Born William Francis Lerche in the Bronx borough of New York City, Russell began his acting career on the stage when he was eight-years-old. He appeared with such notables as Ethel Barrymore, Chauncey Olcott, Blanche Bates, Maude Adams and others. His career came to a stop at age 16, however, when he became an invalid. Through rigorous physical therapy, he became well again six years later. He then became an amateur boxing champion. Russell began his screen career in New York with the Biograph Company, where he worked for nine months before signing with the Thanhouser Company. He was also part of the company of players for the American Film Manufacturing Company and their Flying "A" Studios in Santa Barbara. In 1917, he and actress Charlotte Burton were married. They divorced in 1921.


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