Betsy Russell

Elizabeth "Betsy" Russell (born September 6, 1963)[1] is an American actress who is best known for her roles in Private School (1983), Tomboy (1985), and as Jill Tuck, one of the primary characters of the Saw film series from 2006 to 2010.

Betsy Russell
Russell, Betsy (2007).jpg
Russell in October 2007
Born (1963-09-06) September 6, 1963 (age 58)
EducationUniversity of Santa Monica
OccupationActress, producer
Years active1982–present
(m. 1989; div. 2001)
Parent(s)Richard Russell
Constance Lerner
RelativesMax Lerner (maternal grandfather)
Betsy Russell Signature.png

Early lifeEdit

Russell was born in San Diego, California,[2][3] the daughter of Constance (née Lerner) and Richard Lion Russell, a stock analyst, and the granddaughter of journalist and educator Max Lerner.[4] Her father and maternal grandfather were Jewish.[2] Russell wanted to be an actress since the age of eight and started acting in school plays.[5] She appeared in a Pepsi commercial that was taped locally while in high school. After graduating from Mission Bay High School in 1981, she moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes before landing her first role. She did a masters program in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica and is a certified hypnotist and life coach, also from the University of Santa Monica.[6]


Russell's first role was in the 1982 film Let's Do It! That same year, she landed roles on T. J. Hooker, Family Ties, and The Powers of Matthew Star. In 1983, Russell's breakout role came as Jordan Leigh-Jensen in the sex comedy Private School. While shooting the action film Avenging Angel, she was offered to audition for the 1985 film Silverado but turned it down. She said in an interview, "Everything happens for a reason. I always believe my career would have been different had I done that part. I can't say if it would have been better or worse. I’ve had a great run."[4] She went on to star in a series of B movies in the 1980s, including the comedy Tomboy and the slasher film Cheerleader Camp. Russell also appeared on TV series such as The A-Team, Murder, She Wrote, 1st & Ten, and an episode of Superboy, which was a reunion with her Tomboy co-star Gerard Christopher.

After a brief retirement from acting, Russell appeared in a small role in Saw III playing John Kramer's ex-wife, Jill Tuck. She went on to star in the sequels, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, and Saw 3D.[7] She played a role in the 2010 film Chain Letter, the SyFy film Mandrake, and My Trip Back to the Dark Side.[8][9]

Personal lifeEdit

Russell resides in Malibu, California.[10]

In August 1988, Russell was engaged to actor Vincent Van Patten, son of Dick Van Patten. They were married nine months later on May 27, 1989, in North Hollywood. Their wedding reception was at Van Patten's father's Sherman Oaks home which was attended by numerous A-list celebrities.[11] They divorced in 2001 and have two sons: Richard Van Patten (March 1993) and Vincent Van Patten, Jr. (September 3, 1995)[12][13] Russell was previously engaged to film producer Mark Burg.[14]



Year Title Role Notes
1982 Let's Do It! Kittie [citation needed]
1983 Private School Jordan Leigh-Jensen Alternative title: Private School... for Girls
1985 Avenging Angel Molly "Angel" Stewart
1985 Tomboy Tomasina "Tommy" Boyd
1985 Out of Control Chrissie Baret
1988 Cheerleader Camp Alison Wentworth Alternative title: Bloody Pom Poms
1989 Trapper County War Lacey Luddigger
1991 Camp Fear Jamie Alternative title: The Millennium Countdown
1992 Delta Heat Vicky Forbes
1993 Amore! Cheryl Schwartz
1995 The Break Candy
2000 The Flunky Candy
2006 Saw III Jill Tuck
2007 Saw IV Jill Tuck
2008 Saw V Jill Tuck
2009 Saw VI Jill Tuck
2010 Chain Letter Sergeant Hamill
2010 Saw 3D Jill Tuck Won Eyegore Award
2011 I'm a Soap Star Date Short film
2012 Lose Yourself Destiny Direct-to-video
2014 My Trip Back to the Dark Side Destiny
2014 Knock 'em Dead Louanne the Maid / Laurie Grant
TBA Bully High Beth White Pre-production; also co-producer


Year Show Role Notes
1982 The Powers of Matthew Star Dawn Episode: "Jackal"
1982 T. J. Hooker Teenager Episode: "Second Chance"
1982 Family Ties Girl Episode: "Not with My Sister You Don't"
1984-1986 The A-Team Tina
Adrian Prescott
Episodes: "Bullets and Bikinis" and "Members Only"
1986 Murder, She Wrote Doris Robinson Episode: "Menace, Anyone?"
1986–1987 1st & Ten Christy Episode: "Yinessa's Interview"
Episode: "Easy Come, Easy Go
Episode: "The Big One"
1989 Roxanne: The Prize Pulitzer Liza Pulitzer Television film
1989 Superboy Serene Episode: "Superboy... Rest in Peace"
1995 Platypus Man Becky Episode "The Crush"
2010 Mandrake Felicia Television film
2013 Non-Stop Gayle Television film
2017 Born and Missing (aka Babynapped) Dr. Taylor Television film
2018 Robot Chicken Laurie / Teenage Girl Episode: "Your Mouth Is Hanging off Your Face"


  1. ^ "Betsy Russell Biography". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved December 21, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b "MARRIAGE IN APRIL FOR MISS C. LERNER; Columnist's Daughter Engaged to Richard Russell, Former Air Force Bombardier". The New York Times. February 15, 1953. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
  3. ^ "How I Became a True Believer". August 9, 2017.
  4. ^ a b McDonald, Patrick (October 27, 2010). "Interview: Betsy Russell Completes the Jigsaw Puzzle in 'Saw 3D'". Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ Farinella, Tony (October 24, 2008). "411 Movies Interview: Betsy Russell of Saw V". Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  6. ^ Aushenker, Michael (October 13, 2010). "Malibu's queen of Halloween". The Malibu Times. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  7. ^ Topel, Fred (October 26, 2007). "Betsy Russell on Saw IV". CraveOnline. Archived from the original on March 10, 2008. Retrieved May 31, 2008.
  8. ^ Miska, Brad (November 8, 2009). "AFM '09: New Films Acquires 'Chain Letter', New Trailer". Bloody Disgusting. The Collective. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  9. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 30, 2010). "Syfy Original Movie 'Mandrake' Premieres Saturday, September 11 at 9pm". TVbytheNumbers. Zap2it. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  10. ^ Bryant, Jessica (August 26, 2010). "Haute Secrets Los Angeles: Betsy Russell". Haute Living Magazine. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  11. ^ Swertlow, Frank (June 2, 1989). "Hollywood Freeway - Tears and Cheers for 'Phantom'". Los Angeles Daily News. MediaNews Group.
  12. ^ Noor, Star (November 2010). "Betsy Russell on MF Magazine". Music Fashion Magazine. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  13. ^ "Biography for Vincent Van Patten". TCMDb. Retrieved December 22, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Bowles, Duncan (November 9, 2009). "Interview with Saw actress Betsy Russell". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved December 22, 2010.

External linksEdit