Betsy Russell (born Elizabet Russell; September 6, 1963) 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.
Russell was born in San Diego, California, the daughter of Constance (née Lerner) and Richard Lion Russell, a stock analyst. Her maternal grandfather was journalist and educator Max Lerner. Russell wanted to be an actress since age eight and started acting in school plays. 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 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". 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. She played a role in the 2010 film Chain Letter and appeared in the SyFy film Mandrate.
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. They divorced in 2001 and have two children; Richard Van Patten (March 1993) and Vincent Van Patten, Jr. (September 3, 1995) Russell was once engaged to producer Mark Burg. Russell holds a master's degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica. She resides in Malibu, California.
|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|
|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|
|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"|
|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|