Russell was born in Homestead Florida to a military family, the third of four sons to Buck and Juanita. Offered a theatre arts scholarship in high school to attend Transylvania University in Kentucky, he opted to join the US Army after becoming a father his senior year. Peacetime provided a unique opportunity as he soon discovered the esteemed Fort Bragg Playhouse where he began performing regularly. After his stint in the military he moved to New York City, spending two liberating years working odd jobs and doing regional theatre before joining the crew of the US Coast Guard cutter Sassafras in Honolulu, Hawaii.
After meeting his wife Shelley in Long Beach California, where they performed and directed together for several years, the couple moved to ‘The Big Easy’, New Orleans Louisiana, where their artistic lives flourished over the next 11 years. They eventually headed back west to be closer to family, settling in Seattle Washington. In addition to top notch professional theatre, Russell took advantage of Seattle’s thriving Independent film scene, appearing in a slew of Indies and making guest TV appearances on Leverage and Grimm before being cast to play the “lovable stoner” Doc on the SyFy original series Z Nation in 2014.