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Betsy Russell

Betsy Russell

Article by Star Noor

Photo by Sean Costello
Short link: http://bit.ly/bX483K   
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Styling by Olivia Crouppen 

Makeup by Shelly Samia  

Hair styling by Helena Van Zendbergen








Betsy Russell has reemerged from the 80’s teen sensation of acting careers past to perhaps her best known role as the queen of the Jigsaw Killer’s heart in the Saw film franchise.  The recently opened SAW VII 3D is said to be the last of the series; and, so Betsy’s character Jill Tuck can finally fulfill her destiny to stand by her man until the end game.  When I asked Betsy to iterate through her own eyes the dynamics of her beloved character Jill she clarified much like an old confidant would , “She fell in love with a man, married him, lost their baby, and he discovered he had cancer.  Her love for him never faltered.  She expressed her inner sadness and grief through helping to heal others. After his death she stayed true to him. I identify with her because I like to think I'm a loyal and strong woman as well. I love her because I can identify strongly with her pain.  She handles all situations with grace and love.  We could all learn from that!”


Betsy’s love of acting was apparent at first through childhood play.  “I loved watching TV shows when I was a young girl.  "I Love Lucy" was my favorite and I would pretend I was Lucy and reenact scene from every show; I was obsessed with her!  My mother thought I was very funny and she made me believe I could be an actress if that's what I wanted to do.  She said she never had any doubt that I would be, and that's pretty much all I ever pursued from very early on,” she explains.  Having such a support system and examples like the renowned economist Richard Russell and author, philosopher, and syndicated columnist Max Lerner as her father and grandfather - Betsy knew success is possible, “I would have to say it only helped me to believe that if I worked hard at my dream career, it was within my reach.  Realistically not many people are successful at jobs they love! Those two men are, Max has passed on, and that was something that motivated me.  My father always said do what you're passionate about and success will follow!”


Success did follow and she went on to play bitchy roles in such films as the 1983 sex-comedy PRIVATE SCHOOL opposite Pheobe Cates, her then idol.  As her career took off and more films followed; Betsy quickly became a rising star.  It was at the height of her career when she fell in love with actor and tennis star, Vince Van Patten, whom she met at the Playboy Mansion where she was a frequent visitor thanks to her Grandfather’s relationship with Hue Heffner, “He was living there about half the year so I guess if it hadn't been for Hef and the mansion, I never would have known him.”


After her marriage to Vince and the arrivals of her sons, Betsy decided to take a break and raise her children.  She reminisces, “I felt a part of me had died when I quit acting and that's very true.  I missed it so much but I was happy being home with my babies and my in-laws were right next door!  I never thought it was forever though.  I always had a gut feeling I wasn't finished with what I had started.  I had no idea how I would come back but I believe everything happens for a reason so I was comfortable with my decision and I left it to the universe to figure things out for me.  My favorite saying is, “A miracle is what happens when you just get out of the way.”  That's pretty much what I did.”


When her marriage ended in 2001 Betsy moved back to California with her sons.  Little did she know that as miracles go, the universe had one all planned out for her.  Not long after her divorce the call came asking Betsy to join the Saw cast in Saw III, “You know that saying people come into your life for a reason? Well I know that's true... Mark Burg has been a good friend for many, many years.  He and Oren Koules have been my angels through all of this and I couldn't think of any better guys to take this journey with. They have started many big careers in Hollywood and asked me to come on board on SAW III to play a small role.  Who knew it would turn into this?”


Four SAW films, a recent role in CHAIN LETTER opposite Nikki Reed and Keith Taylor, and a starring role on SYFY’s UNEARTHED – Betsy looks forward to the future with the help of her training in spiritual psychology.  “I look at every challenge as an opportunity for growth.  It's also about forgiving ourselves for all of the judgments we have made.  Our job isn't to judge, and it's not about right and wrong.  Our job is to stay in balance.” 


Her need for balance and healing came from personal pain, “my relationships have been challenging to me in the past and I really was walking through life with a broken heart and soul,” Betsy explains.  In her quest to find balance she, much like her character Jill Tuck, found a profound passion for helping others heal as well.  Through this passion she has found the balance she sought, and with this balance she has resurrected a promising new phase of her career.  Looking forward to the future, knowing she is just where she is supposed to be, Betsy Russell is moving on to her next big role which is in the works but strictly confidential. 


100000639934039 says...

November 12, 2010

Glad to hear Betsy is doing well. I was a fan in the 80's and wondered where she went. She had beautiful eyes and smile and I felt a good actress as well. Balance is important for all. Looking forward to seeing her new project.

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Peggy McIntaggart says...

November 17, 2010

I always knew you would be back on the big screen, I just loved working with you back in the day and am looking forward some way, some how we will work together again, you were great in the SAW movies Betsy...I just love you girl....

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