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Theresa Russell

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Also Known As: Theresa Paup Died:
Born: March 20, 1957 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: San Diego, California, USA Profession: actor, model

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A sensual actress who often projects an untrained, even somewhat amateurish air, Theresa Russell made an auspicious debut as the daughter of a movie studio head in Elia Kazan's "The Last Tycoon" (1976). Raised in Southern California by her single mother, the alluring, throaty-voiced performer began posing for provocative photos when she was barely a teenager. After dropping out of high school, Russell moved in with a much older man, a primal scream therapist, whom she credits for unleashing repressed feelings that in turn led to her pursuit of an acting career. Trained in the Method at the Lee Strasberg Institute, she proved effective in her early film roles, especially opposite Dustin Hoffman in "Straight Time" (1978). Russell was first directed by her future husband, Nicolas Roeg, in "Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession" (1980), which cast her in the close to autobiographical role of a young patient who falls under the sway of a psychiatrist. Russell has subsequently six more of his films (to date); she is perhaps best known for her portrayal of a Marilyn Monroe-type figure in Roeg's "Insignificance" (1985).While she seemingly prefers to work for her husband, Russell has also delivered several...

A sensual actress who often projects an untrained, even somewhat amateurish air, Theresa Russell made an auspicious debut as the daughter of a movie studio head in Elia Kazan's "The Last Tycoon" (1976). Raised in Southern California by her single mother, the alluring, throaty-voiced performer began posing for provocative photos when she was barely a teenager. After dropping out of high school, Russell moved in with a much older man, a primal scream therapist, whom she credits for unleashing repressed feelings that in turn led to her pursuit of an acting career. Trained in the Method at the Lee Strasberg Institute, she proved effective in her early film roles, especially opposite Dustin Hoffman in "Straight Time" (1978). Russell was first directed by her future husband, Nicolas Roeg, in "Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession" (1980), which cast her in the close to autobiographical role of a young patient who falls under the sway of a psychiatrist. Russell has subsequently six more of his films (to date); she is perhaps best known for her portrayal of a Marilyn Monroe-type figure in Roeg's "Insignificance" (1985).

While she seemingly prefers to work for her husband, Russell has also delivered several interesting performances, including the good girl-turned-prostitute in John Byrum's 1984 remake of "The Razor's Edge", as a seductive serial killer in Bob Rafelson's "Black Widow" (1987) and as narcotics detective in Sondra Locke's "Impulse" (1990). Perhaps the actress' most notorious role was the titular "Whore" (1991) in Ken Russell's typically over-the-top examination of the world's oldest profession. She seemed miscast as Jeremy Irons' co-worker in "Kafka" (1992) but was at home in the dual role of good and evil twins in the BBC TV production "Thicker Than Water" (aired in the USA on A&E in 1994). More recently, she was teamed with Jacqueline Bisset in "Once You Meet a Stranger" (CBS, 1996), an unsuccessful distaff remake of Hitchcock's 1951 classic "Strangers on a Train". Russell also played the formidable mother of Denise Richards in the campy/sultry neo-noir "Wild Things" (1998).

Russell continued to work steadily, balancing a career in mide-level feature films--including "Luckytown" (2000), "The Believer" (2001) and "Passionada" (2002)--to telepics of varying quality--from the genre-minded "Earth Vs. The Spider" (2001) to the exceptional HBO miniseries "Empire Falls" (2005)--to occasional series work--including guest roles on "Nash Bridges" and "G vs E" (as a character cheekily named Rheesa Tussel) and a regular stint on The WB's short-lived soapy mystery "Glory Days" (2001) as Hazel, owner of the titular small town's diner and aging bombshell, had the dubious honor of being the murderer in a fictionalized book written about a local murder, prompting real-life suspicion related to her scandalous real-life affair with the victim. Russell was poised for a major career comeback when she was cast at the wife of Flint Marko (Thomas Hayden Church), the villainous Sandman in the highly anticipated sequel "Spider-Man 3" (lensed 2006).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Liz & Dick (2012)
2.
 Rid of Me (2011)
3.
 Born to Ride (2011)
4.
 16 to Life (2010)
5.
 Jolene (2008)
6.
 Dark World (2008)
7.
 Baby-O (2007)
8.
 Spider-Man 3 (2007)
9.
 On the Doll (2007)
10.
 Blind Injustice (2005)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began modeling career at age 12
:
At age 16, dropped out of high school and moved in with her 28-year-old boyfriend, a primal scream therapist
:
Began studying acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute
1976:
Film acting debut in "The Last Tycoon"
1978:
Starred opposite Dustin Hoffman in "Straight Time"
1979:
Portrayed Maureen Dean in the CBS miniseries "Blind Ambition"
1980:
First film with Nicholas Roeg, "Bad Timing"
1983:
Had strong role as a Marilyn Monroe-like actress in "Insignificance"
1984:
Portrayed the prostitute Sophia in the remake of "The Razor's Edge"; Gene Tierney played the role in the 1946 version
1987:
Cast in the leading role of a serial killer in "Black Widow"
1990:
Delivered a strong performance as a narcotics officer in "Impulse"
1991:
Had title role in Ken Russell's "Whore"
1992:
Played Jeremy Irons' co-worker in "Kafka"
1994:
Had dual role as telepathic twins in "Thicker Than Water" (aired in the USA on A&E)
1996:
Cast as Ma Barker in "Public Enemy No 1" (HBO)
1996:
Appeared opposite Jacqueline Bisset in "Once You Meet a Stranger", a loose, distaff remake of "Strangers on a Train"
1998:
Had supporting role as Denise Richards' mother in "Wild Things"
2001:
Appeared in the controversial "The Believer", as a supporter of neo-Nazis; screened at Sundance; aired on Showtime in 2002 before theatrical release
2002:
Had regular role as the town tramp on the midseason replacement series "Glory Days" (The WB)
2005:
Co-starred in the HBO mini-series "Empire Falls"
2007:
Portrayed the wife of Flint Marko, a.k.a. the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) in "Spider-Man 3"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Burbank High School: Burbank , California -
The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute: Los Angeles , California -

Notes

"I'm not all that well-educated or well-read, and I always feel a little intimidated about that. I perceive things on a much more instinctive level instead of intellectualizing things." --Theresa Russell to AMERICAN FILM, April 1989

"I'm sure I have regrets. But I don't think about them. Onward is the cry." --Russell to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, March 14, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Nicolas Roeg. Director, director of photography. Married in 1985.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Statten Roeg. Born c. 1983.
son:
Maxim Roeg. Born c. 1985.

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