Tony Russel, American actor, Died at 91

Tony Russel was born Anthony Russo on November 23, 1925, and died on March 18, 2017.

He was an American film, stage, and television actor.

Russel was famous for having worked extensively in the Italian film industry in the mid-1960s, and for his work as a voice actor where he was the founder and president of the English Language Dubbers Association (ELDA) in Italy.

Russel was one of several American actors who turned down the lead of A Fistful of Dollars.

When he made Burt Topper’s War is Hell (1963), he went to Italy first appearing in the title role of La leggenda di Fra Diavolo.

Then, he appeared in several sword and sandal and Eurospy films, including Secret of the Sphinx (1964) and Gladiators Seven (1964).

He played Zorro in Behind the Mask of Zorro (1965); he had originally tested for the role of Walt Disney’s Zorro but lost out to Guy Williams.

Some of his starring roles are parts in the sci-fi epics Wild, Wild Planet (1965) and its sequel, War of the Planets filmed concurrently.

Tony Russel left Italy for America in 1967, and later appeared in such films as The Hard Ride (1971) and Soul Hustler (1973).

During 1969, he played the rustler Mike Cassidy in the episode “Drop Out” of the syndicated television series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Robert Taylor, not long before Taylor’s own death.

During the story line, the rebellious George Leroy Parker, played by Michael Margotta, takes the name Butch Cassidy in honor of his acquaintance.

That episode aired the same year as the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Tony Russel passed away at 91 years old.