Theresa Russell

Theresa Russell

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1957-03-20 (64 years old) · Gender: Female · Place of Birth: San Diego, California, USA

58 Movies · 9 TV shows

Biography

Theresa Lynn Russell (née Paup; born March 20, 1957) is an American actress whose career spans over four decades. Her filmography includes over fifty feature films, ranging from mainstream to independent and experimental films.Born in San Diego, Russell was raised in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank, where she had a turbulent upbringing marked by poverty, and dropped out of high school at age 16. Russell subsequently began modeling, which brought her to the attention of film producer Sam Spiegel. Through Spiegel, she was cast in Elia Kazan's The Last Tycoon (1976), playing the daughter of a prominent film executive.In 1978, Russell starred opposite Dustin Hoffman in the critically-acclaimed crime drama Straight Time. Her next role was a lead in English filmmaker Nicolas Roeg's controversial thriller Bad Timing (1980), which earned critical praise. Russell and Roeg began a romance while shooting the film, and it marked one of six projects they would collaborate on following their 1982 marriage. She next appeared in Roeg's drama Eureka (1983), followed by the John Byrum-directed The Razor's Edge (1984). Russell portrayed Marilyn Monroe in Roeg's experimental alternate history film Insignificance (1985), followed by a lead role as a serial killer in Bob Rafelson's neo-noir film Black Widow (1987), which garnered her significant commercial attention.Russell continued to collaborate with Roeg throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, appearing in a Roeg-directed segment of the anthology film Aria (1987), as well as the features Track 29 (1989) and Cold Heaven (1991). Other roles from this time included the crime dramas Physical Evidence (1989) and Impulse (1990). In 1991, Russell starred as a prostitute in Ken Russell's satirical drama Whore, followed by Steven Soderbergh's experimental black-and-white feature, Kafka, co-starring Jeremy Irons. After appearing in a number of independent films in the mid-1990s, Russell had a supporting role in the commercially successful neo-noir Wild Things (1998), and the critically-acclaimed drama The Believer (2001). In 2005, she had a supporting role on the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, followed by a minor part in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 (2007).

Early Life

Russell was born Theresa Lynn Paup in San Diego, California, the eldest of three children born to teenage mother Carole Platt (née Mall) and Jerry Russell Paup. When she was five years old, Russell's parents divorced, and her father relocated to Mexico. Her mother subsequently remarried, and moved the family to Los Angeles County, where Russell was raised primarily in Burbank. Through her mother's marriage to her stepfather, she has two half-siblings. Russell has said she grew up in poverty, and that at times her family required food stamps to survive. She had a turbulent relationship with her stepfather, whom she described as "hideous", "incapable" and "an asshole," and by age thirteen, she had begun experimenting with recreational drugs. Despite her early struggles, Russell commented in 1991: "I hate it when actors talk about what a hard time they had as kids. That was just my life. It wasn't horrible. When you're free, white, and over 21, how hard can it be? Get over it."At age fourteen, while a student at Burbank High School, Russell was approached while walking on a street in Los Angeles by a photographer who suggested she model. Suspecting the photographer merely wanted to exploit her, Russell requested that he meet her mother first, to which he obliged. She subsequently began modeling for a fashion photographer who was a friend of her mother's. "I ended up having what I realise now was a long, almost like a Lolita/Humbert Humbert relationship with him—without the sex. He was madly in love with me and took pictures of me a lot. He would come round and we would go off and shoot pictures up in the mountains."Russell dropped out of high school at 16 and moved in with a 28-year-old boyfriend who worked as a primal scream therapist, whom she later described as "one of the most fucked-up people I have ever met." She enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Institute in West Hollywood to study acting at age 17.

Movies & TV shows

2021.

1 Movie
Mr. Kneff

Mr. Kneff

2021
Steven Soderbergh's movie will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival.

2016.

1 Movie
A Winter Rose

A Winter Rose

2016
A young singer in Los Angeles named Winter Rose is chosen to be the successor to a world-famous star who is retiring because of a cancer diagnosis.

2015.

1 Movie
Nicolas Roeg: It's About Time...

Nicolas Roeg: It's About Time...

2015
The first major profile of the great British film director Nicolas Roeg, examining his very personal vision of cinema as in such films as Don't Look Now, Performance, Walkabout and The Man Who Fell to...

2014.

1 Movie
Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains

2014
A determined housewife goes head-to-head with a $1 billion mining company after its negligent operation ruins her town's water supply.

2013.

1 TV show
TV
Delete

Delete

2013
In an all-too-fragile digital world, all computers could become dangerously self-aware with one systematic purpose and destroy mankind. There is only one way to avoid extinction and that is to create ...

2012.

3 Movies
Liz & Dick

Liz & Dick

2012
On the set of Cleopatra, Hollywood's most beautiful star, Elizabeth Taylor, fell into the arms of one of the world's greatest actors, Richard Burton - and she didn't leave. Their subsequent white-hot,...
1 Out of 7

1 Out of 7

2012
Lexi is pregnant on the streets. She must turn to a woman with her own demons in order to find a way back from her past mistakes.
The Legends of Nethiah

The Legends of Nethiah

2012
A young boy with his parents going through a bitter divorce is given hope and courage by his grandfather. The stories give the boy strength to face the inevitable challenges.

2011.

3 Movies
Born to Ride

Born to Ride

2011
The stars of Starship Troopers are back in action! Mike (Casper Van Dien) decides to hit the road on his refurbished classic motorcycle along with best buddy Alex (Patrick Muldoon), but their trek tak...
Rid of Me

Rid of Me

2011
A black comedy of embarrassment shows the emotional breakdown and rebirth of a woman.
That's Insignificance

That's Insignificance

2011
Interviews with the cast of INSIGNIFICANCE are featured in a behind-the-scenes look at the film.

2009.

1 Movie
16 to Life

16 to Life

2009
Romantic comedy. A small town teenager's angst about sexual inexperience drives a comic quest for love and understanding on a birthday to end all birthdays.

2008.

3 Movies · 1 TV show
Dark World

Dark World

2008
An ex police officer in Los Angeles sets out to solve a series of missing person cases with his ex partner.
Railroad to Hell: A Chinaman's Chance

Railroad to Hell: A Chinaman's Chance

2008
America in 1870's. A Chinese immigrant wrongly accused of murdering a white woman will have to prove his innocence in a time when people of color had no legal rights. The exploitation of Chinese worke...
TV
Fringe

Fringe

6.03
2008
Walter Bishop, brilliant but formerly institutionalized scientist, and his scheming, reluctant son Peter, uncover a deadly mystery involving a series of unbelievable events and realize they may be a p...
Jolene

Jolene

2008
A teenage orphan is traveling for ten years.

2007.

2 Movies · 1 TV show
On the Doll

On the Doll

2007
A lurid, dark look into the lives of sex workers, where victims of child abuse deal with the consequences of their actions later in life.
Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3

6.23
2007
The shape-changing Sandman is one of the new villains that Spider-Man goes up against. While Spider-Man's powers are altered by an alien organism, his alter ego, Peter, deals with nemesis Eddie Brock ...
TV
American Heiress

American Heiress

2007
American Heiress is a telenovela which debuted on March 13, 2007 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on the American television network MyNetworkTV. This romantic melodrama tells the story of a roughneck pilot and...

2006.

3 Movies
Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light

Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light

2006
Film Noir is a film that burrows into the mind. Noir provides intimate peeks at its tough, scheming dames, mischievous misfits and flawed men, all caught in the wicked web of a twisted fate.
Molls and Dolls: The Women of Gangster Films

Molls and Dolls: The Women of Gangster Films

2006
A documentary on the roles of women in gangster movies.

2005.

1 Movie · 1 TV show
Blind Injustice

Blind Injustice

2005
A blind woman finds herself the target of an attacker again after the person originally convicted of her rape is found to be innocent of the crime.
TV
Empire Falls

Empire Falls

6
2005
The humorous, poignant story of a declining New England town and its inhabitants, whose lives are deeply influenced by the Knox River and its vacant mills, their class differences, and ghosts of the p...

2004.

1 Movie
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession

2004
The Z Channel is one of the first pay cable stations in the US. The LA-based channel's eclectic slate of movies became a prime example of the power of cable television.

2003.

4 Movies · 1 TV show
The Box

The Box

2003
An ex-con tries to go straight but also wants to get back money he's owed for the job that put him in prison. He meets a waitress who's also seen her share of trouble and they start up a tenuous relat...
Passionada

Passionada

2003
A widow and her husband died at sea. The widow's teenage daughter wants to be a professional gambler and she convinces her mother to date a British man. The Brit is a professional gambler and pretends...
TV
Cold Case

Cold Case

6.2
2003
When she is assigned cases that have never been solved, the Philadelphia homicide squad's lone female detective finds her calling. Lilly Rush combines her instincts and technology to bring about justi...
Love Comes Softly

Love Comes Softly

6
2003
Marty is a pioneer. They are moving west. Marty is alone with a baby. Clark Davis offers her a marriage of convenience because he needs someone to take care of his daughter and she needs food and mone...
Water Under the Bridge

Water Under the Bridge

2003
Jake O'Connor saw his father shoot his best friend dead when he was a child. Jake is trying to find the truth about what happened that fateful night. Incognito is moving into an apartment owned by a s...

2002.

4 Movies · 1 TV show
Now & Forever

Now & Forever

2002
John Myron andAngela Wilson form a powerful bond against a backdrop of clashing cultures. John saved her from a betrayal. As a result of the aftermath,Angela flees town, unaware that she has put into ...
The House Next Door

The House Next Door

2002
A newlywed couple move into their dream home only to find that their next door neighbor isn't as nice as they thought.
TV
Glory Days

Glory Days

2002
Wunderkind author Mike Dolan achieved literary fame at age 21 with a steamy expose on his seemingly idyllic Maine town. Four years later, he hasn't written another word and reluctantly returns home in...
Searching for Debra Winger

Searching for Debra Winger

2002
As women working in the entertainment industry, they face a lot of pressures.
Project Viper

Project Viper

2002
Project Viper is a 2002 movie starring Patrick Muldoon, Theresa Russell, Curtis Armstrong, Tamara Davies. The movie was directed by Jim Wynorski under the pseudonym "Jay Andrews." When a terrifying, b...

2001.

2 Movies · 1 TV show
Earth vs. the Spider

Earth vs. the Spider

2001
A shy comic book fan is injected with an experimental serum and starts turning into a spider. A policeman is investigating a strange case when web covered bodies start appearing.
TV
Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Law & Order: Criminal Intent

6.25
2001
The third iteration of the "Law & Order" franchise takes viewers deep into the minds of its criminals while following the intense psychological approaches the Major Case Squad uses to solve its crimes...
The Believer

The Believer

6
2001
A racist skinhead in the US leads a gang that fights the enemy because of his intelligence. He's hiding a secret because he's a brilliant scholar who's questioning the tenets of his faith has left him...

2000.

1 Movie
Luckytown

Luckytown

2000
A young woman is looking for her father, a professional gambler. She finds herself at odds with her boyfriend who wants nothing but a happy life.

1998.

2 Movies
Running Woman

Running Woman

1998
Emily and her son were victims of a carjacking. Emily is accused of committing the murder herself in order to get away with it. On the run from the police, she tries to find killers on her own and dis...
Wild Things

Wild Things

5.32
1998
A guidance counselor who was accused of rape by a teen and a bad girl is suspended by the school, rejected by the town and fighting to get his life back. A cop thinks there is a conspiracy.

1996.

4 Movies
The Proposition

The Proposition

1996
In early 19th century Wales, Catherine Morgan, a widow with two daughters, must endure the bumpy road to a distant market in order to sell her cattle to save her farm and family.
Once You Meet a Stranger

Once You Meet a Stranger

1996
The genders of the lead characters in the television remake of "Strangers on a Train" have been changed from male to female. The first husband of a former child star is unwilling to give her a divorce...
The Flight of the Dove

The Flight of the Dove

1996
A spy trades sex for secrets. An explosives expert is haunted by his past. The sparks fly when these two meet.
Public Enemies

Public Enemies

1996
Ma Barker and her sons were wanted by the FBI.

1995.

4 Movies
Trade Off

Trade Off

1995
A man has an affair with a mysterious woman and shares with her his desire to end his troubled marriage. When his wife is found dead, his lover admits to the killing and persuades him to kill her husb...
A Young Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

A Young Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

1995
A modern take on the novel by Mark Twain.
Hotel Paradise

Hotel Paradise

1995
A bride-to-be wakes up next to a man chained to the bed, but can't remember what happened the night before.
The Grotesque

The Grotesque

1995
Sir Hugo is more interested in reconstructing dinosaur bones than paying attention to his wife. When Sidney was brought home, he wasn't happy. Fledge gives LadyHarriet the attention she's been missing...

1994.

1 Movie
Being Human

Being Human

1994
There is a meaning to courage across four lifetimes.

1993.

1 Movie · 1 TV show
Thicker Than Water

Thicker Than Water

1993
They are identical twins. After Jo was killed in a car accident, Debbie started to act like her. Sam suspected that the accident was not an accident at all.
TV
A Woman's Guide to Adultery

A Woman's Guide to Adultery

1993
The story of three women who are involved in adulterous affairs and Rose, who believes that anyone who sleeps with another's husband is committing a crime against womanhood. Will Rose be able to resis...

1992.

1 Movie
Cold Heaven

Cold Heaven

1992
An adulterous woman's faith in God is tested when she loses her husband.

1991.

2 Movies
Whore

Whore

1991
The life of a sex worker is investigated in a melodrama.
Kafka

Kafka

6
1991
After a co-worker is murdered, an insurance worker gets involved in an underground group. The underground group is trying to stop a secret organization that controls the major events in society. He ha...

1990.

1 Movie
Impulse

Impulse

1990
While working alone undercover with a vice squad boss she dislikes as much as he dislikes her, she is living on the edge. An assignment was given to the assistant D.A. It may be the start of a serious...

1989.

1 Movie
Physical Evidence

Physical Evidence

1989
A police officer suspended and now accused of murder is forced to join forces with his court-appointed attorney to assemble the pieces of a deadly puzzle to find the missing link before time runs out....

1988.

1 Movie
Track 29

Track 29

6
1988
Years after a desperate teenage Linda gives up her baby for adoption, she finds herself face-to-face with Martin, a young man who claims to be her long-lost son. Linda found a reprieve from her unhapp...

1987.

2 Movies
Aria

Aria

1987
There were ten different directors who directed the short pieces. An aria is used as a soundtrack in each short.
Black Widow

Black Widow

2
1987
According to Barnes, Catherine is a serial killer who murders rich men for their money. Catherine is a master of disguise and can't be proved with conventional detective work. With no other choice, sh...

1985.

1 Movie
Insignificance

Insignificance

1985
Four 1950s cultural icons who could have met but probably didn't, fictionally do so in this modern fable of post-WWII America. The film has a fluid progression of flashbacks and flashforwards centerin...

1984.

1 Movie
The Razor's Edge

The Razor's Edge

1984
He had everything and didn't want anything. He learned that he didn't have anything. The world was saved and then shattered by him. The path to enlightenment is narrow and sharp.

1983.

1 Movie
Eureka

Eureka

1983
An Alaskan gold prospector and his family live on an island that mobsters want.

1980.

1 Movie
Bad Timing

Bad Timing

1
1980
Alex and Milena have a friend who is a doctor. Alex is attracted to the young spirit of Milena even though he is a bit older than her. Despite the fact that Milena is already married, their friendship...

1979.

1 TV show
TV
Blind Ambition

Blind Ambition

1979
The Watergate coverup is the focus of a four-part miniseries.

1978.

1 Movie
Straight Time

Straight Time

1978
A person just follows the rules after being released on parole. He was sent back to jail by a parole officer who was hungry for power.

1976.

1 Movie
The Last Tycoon

The Last Tycoon

1976
F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel is brought to life in this story of a movie producer slowly working himself to death.
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