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Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 26 January 1906Oklahoma, USA
Date of Death 28 April 1987Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameStebbell Russell Saunders
Nickname Racehorse Russell

Mini Bio (1)

Russell Saunders was born on January 26, 1906 in Oklahoma, USA as Stebbell Russell Saunders. He was an assistant director and production manager, known for Them! (1954), Hatari! (1962) and Fat City (1972). He was married to N'was McKenzie. He died on April 28, 1987 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (1)

N'was McKenzie (? - ?)

Trivia (4)

Although he received credit as "assistant director" on several Dead End Kids films, he was actually hired to keep the kids in line. A former football player, Saunders was originally hired on The Angels Wash Their Faces (1939) because Warner Bros. was fed up with the kids' disruptions, pranks and vandalism to the sets and studio property (they once crashed a truck through a soundstage wall). The first time they started to act up on "Angels Wash Their Faces", Saunders grabbed a fire hose off the wall, turned it on full blast and knocked the kids to the floor with a powerful stream of water. They were informed that if they continued to act up, they would receive the same treatment every time. They behaved themselves for the rest of the picture, and Saunders had a job for as long as they were at the studio.
Was an All-American football star at the University of Southern California
Got his start in Hollywood when the 1927 USC football team was recruited to film football scenes for Knute Rockney film. Teammate Marion Morrison (John Wayne) got his start at the same time.
Was the model for USC Tommy Trojan statue. Composite of two primary footballers: Russ and another All American Ernie Pinckert. Torso and head are solidly Russ, lower half is Pinckert.

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