Tony Russel

Tony Russel (born Anthony Russo; November 23, 1925 – March 18, 2017) was an American film, stage, and television actor. He was noted for having worked extensively in the Italian film industry in the mid-1960s, and for his work as a voice actor where he was the founder and president of the English Language Dubbers Association (ELDA) in Italy. He was one of several American actors who turned down the lead of A Fistful of Dollars.[1]

Tony Russel
Anthony Russo

(1925-11-23)November 23, 1925
DiedMarch 18, 2017(2017-03-18) (aged 91)
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
OccupationFilm, television actor


Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Russo served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Russel then studied at University of Wisconsin–Madison.

After making Burt Topper's War is Hell (1963), he went to Italy first appearing in the title role of La leggenda di Fra Diavolo. He then appeared in several sword and sandal and Eurospy films, including Secret of the Sphinx (1964) and Gladiators Seven (1964). Russel played Zorro in Behind the Mask of Zorro (1965); he had originally tested for the role of Walt Disney's Zorro but lost out to Guy Williams.[2] Among Russel's starring roles are parts in the sci-fi epics Wild, Wild Planet (1965) and its sequel, War of the Planets filmed concurrently.

He left Italy for America in 1967, and later appeared in such films as The Hard Ride (1971) and Soul Hustler (1973). In 1969, Russel played the rustler Mike Cassidy in the episode "Drop Out" of the syndicated television series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Robert Taylor, not long before Taylor's own death. In the story line, the rebellious George Leroy Parker, played by Michael Margotta, takes the name Butch Cassidy in honor of his acquaintance. The episode aired the same year as the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.[3]

He died on March 18, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada, aged 91.[4]

Selected filmography


  1. Barnum, Michael Tony Russel Our Man On Gamma 1 -The Wild Wild Interview Video Watchdog No. 128 Dec/Feb 2007
  2. "Mary's Guy Williams Fan Site - Guy Williams: The Man Behind the Mask". Archived from the original on 2010-03-05.
  3. "Drop Out on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. April 25, 1969. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  4. "TONY RUSSO's Obituary on Las Vegas Review-Journal". Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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