James Russo is an American Film and Television actor who has had an incredibly long career spanning three decades. He has made well over 150 appearances in films, portraying quite a number of gruesome psychopaths and gangsters. He has dazzled in villainous roles mostly. James Russo has been described as an intense and dependable tough guy, but the actor has shown over the years that he can interpret any role and bring any character to life when entrusted with a script.
James Russo is best known for his roles in such movies as “Beverley Hills Cop” (1984) where he played the role of Mikey Tandino, “Donnie Brasco” (1997) where he played Paulie, “Django Unchained” (2012) as Dicky Speck, and “Not a Stranger” (2016) where he played Bob Madden.
James Russo also has few writing credits under his belt. While still in college, he had written and starred in a price-winning short film, “The Candy Store”. His first big break, however, came in 1982 when he played the role of a convenience store robber in the classic comedy film, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. He will go ahead to act in so many other films in the 80s and earn an incredible reputation as an accessible villain whose stare can send cold shivers down anyone’s back.
Birth and Early Life
James Russo was born on April 23, 1953 (age 65 in 2018) as James Vincent Russo in New York City, New York, United states to an Italian father and a German mother. He is the last among three brothers and his older siblings are named Daniel Russo and Thomas Russo. James Russo was primarily raised in Flushing, New York, and spent most of his formative years in 156th street. He attended the High School of Art and Design, New York City. Though his parents were no big shots, Russo attended college at New York University and graduated with a degree. His acting career actually kicked off while he was in college. He wrote and starred in a price-winning short film, “The Candy Store”.
Russo did not have an express entry into Hollywood. Before his major break into acting, he worked as a cab driver for a cab company for three years. He also worked as a construction worker and a gravedigger before his big break.
James Russo has undoubtedly had an incredible career, starring in films, televisions, and even on stage. Before his big break in 1982, Russo made his first acting role in a 1981 made-for-television movie, “Chicago Story”. His big break, ironically, came when he played a really small role as a convenience store robber in the highly successful comedy film, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. After his performance in the film, the door opened and he proceeded to star in various major movies of the 80s. One of his most memorable roles came just two years after (1984) when he appeared as Mikey Tandino in the very popular Beverly Hills Cop. In that same year, he made two other major appearances in “The Cotton Club” and “Once Upon a Time in America.
James Russo delivered one of his all-time best villainous roles on stage when he played the sadistic role of a brutal rapist in “Extremities”. He starred opposite Farrah Fawcett in that same role in a 1986 film adaptation of the play. Russo also starred in “Freeway”, a 1988 suspense-packed thriller.
By late 80s, Russo had established himself as a sough-after actor. His exploit continued well into the early 90s. In 1990 precisely, he featured in “State of Grace”. He followed up with three major appearances in 1991 including “A Kiss Before Dying”, “My Own Private Idaho”, and “Cold Heaven”. He continued to play major roles in so many other movies. 1997 was a great year for the actor as he made several appearances including the role of Idaho in the hit movie “The Postman” and as Paulie in “Donnie Brasco”.
Coming into the 21st century, James Russo has remained hugely relevant in Hollywood. He has made numerous new appearances in both film and television. He acted in “The Unscarred”, “Deep Core”, “Hidden War”, and “Bad Guys” all in 2000. He followed up with so many other roles including Peter Elias in “Good God Bad Dog” (2011) and Dicky Speck in “Django Unchained”. He made his most recent appearances in “Vigilante Diaries” (2016), “Voiceless” (2016), and “Living Among Us” (2017).
James Russo’s film credit is exceedingly intimidating. He has featured in well over 120 movies. His acting credits are not limited to films. His stage performance in the successful but controversial 1982 off-Broadway play, “Extremities” got him an award. His Television credits include The Equalizers, Miami vices, Crime story, C-16: FBI, Gabriel’s Fire, Falcon, Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), Las Vegas, Without a Trace, Joan of Arcadia, The capture of the green river killer, Dark blue, Chicago fire, etc. His television credits are actually over 15. Russo has also appeared in a music video, “Of the Night” by Bastille in 2013.
James Russo has not been so lucky when it comes to awards. His only major individual award was for his performance on stage for “Extremities”. He won the 1983 Theatre World Award for his effort.
James Russo Net Worth
James Russo is believed to have amass a decent fortune through his salary and earnings, considering his portfolio as a Hollywood veteran. James Russo family resides in a lovely 6 bedroom house in Calabasas, CA worth just over £1m. James Russo net worth is estimated to be in the millions of dollars. His as exact net worth are still under review.
Family and Personal Life
Unlike the regular Hollywood story, James Russo’s personal life has been pretty decent and void of unnecessary drama. He had had an amazing life with long-term girlfriend, Bettina Russo, who he dated till 1995 before they decided to tie the knot. James Russo wife Bettina Jorja Russo (aka Bettina J Vournas, Bettina J Andresen) is 53 years old in 2018. She has lived in Calabasas and Los Angeles, CA.
James and Bettina got married and have remained committed to their family from 1995 till date. The couple have two children named Dominic Russo and Nicholas Russo. Currently (just as it has been for their over 20 years of marriage), the couple seem to be enjoying their age-old relationship.