Betsy Russell (born Elizabet Russell; September 6, 1963)[1] is an American actress who is best known for her the role in Private School (1983) and as Jill Tuck, the ex-wife of the Jigsaw Killer in the Saw film series.

Early life

Russell was born in San Diego, California, the daughter of Constance (née Lerner) and Richard Lion Russell, a stock analyst.[2] Her maternal grandfather was journalist and educator Max Lerner.[3] Russell wanted to be an actress since age eight and started acting in school plays.[4] She appeared in a Pepsi commercial that was taped locally while in high school. After graduating from Mission Bay High School in 1981,[5] she moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes and waitress jobs before her first role.


Russell's first role was in the 1982 film Let's Do It!. That same year, she landed roles on T.J. Hooker and Family Ties. In 1983, Russell's breakout role came as Jordan Leigh-Jenson in the sex comedy, Private School. While shooting the 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 good run".[3] She went on to star in a series of B movies in the 1980s including Tomboy, and Cheerleader Camp. In addition to films, Russell also appeared on 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.[6] She played a role in the 2010 film Chain Letter and appeared in the SyFy film Mandrate.[7][8]

Personal life

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 Patten's father Sherman Oaks home which was attended by Alan Alda, Carl Reiner, Valerie Perrine, Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones, Hugh Hefner and Kimberley Conrad.[9] They divorced in 2001 and have two children; Richard Van Patten (March 1993) and Vincent Van Patten, Jr. (September 3, 1995)[10][11] Russell was once engaged to producer Mark Burg.[12] Russell holds a master's degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.[13] She resides in Malibu, California.[14]


Year Film Role Notes
1982 Let's Do It! Kittie
1983 Private School Jordan Leigh-Jenson Alternative title: Private School... for Girls
1985 Avenging Angel Molly "Angel" Stewart
1985 Tomboy Tomasina "Tommy" Boyd
1985 Out of Control Chrissie Baret
1987 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
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
Year Film 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

Episode: "Bullets and Bikinis"

Episode: "Members Only"

1986 Murder, She Wrote Doris Robinson Episode: "Menace, Anyone?"


1st & Ten Episode: "Yinessa's Interview"

Episode: "Easy Come, Easy Go" Episode: "The Big One"

1987 Roxanne: The Prize Pulitzer Liza Pulitzer Television film
1987 Superboy Serene Episode: "Superboy... Rest in Peace"
1995 Platypus Man Becky Episode: "The Crush"
2010 Mandrake Felicia Television film on SyFy

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