William Jess Russell has performed on stage, as well as in film and television, receiving praise for a variety of character roles. In Film: Positively Bracing! – Time Out, London; First rate, especially William Russell - 20/20, London; Uses his New York stage experience to fine effect – The Manchestter Film Society, UK.
On Stage: Doesn’t break down barriers, he melts them - the New York Post. Sensitive, often daring portrayal – The Village Voice.
Russell’s film credits include Jim Thompson's, The Kill Off; Necronomion, from New Line Cinema; Deadly Manor; and Mob Queen. The Boston Globe, commending the performances in the film, “The Kill Off,” singled out Russell, saying – High praise, especially Wm. Russell. Television appearances include Third Watch and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Notable commercial director, Mark Story, said of Russell – A great actor – write something for him!
He has performed regionally and in summer stock in a range of plays, from Neil Simon to Sean O'Casey, Moliere and Shakespeare. For several years, he was an actor/writer member of the Manhattan avant-garde theatre troupe Quena Company, directed by Raymond J. Barry. Quena created and performed theatre pieces in many venues, including colleges and prisons, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Public Theatre, Baltimore Theatre Project, Theatre for the New City and Theatre Genesis. Gutsy, provocative; rough and wonderfully vulnerable! – Arthur Sainer, The Village Voice.
Russell originated the role of poet Tom McGrath in The Grass Eats the Horse, by Eric Blau, creator of Jaques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. He also collaborated with Blau on Remembering Eye, a solo performance piece, based on Blau's poetry, published as Collected Works. The critic for Housatonic Media Group in Farifield County, Connecticut said – Stunning piece for a solo actor -- Mr. Russell is that good and that poignant”