The actor, who had been suffering from cancer, died Sunday afternoon at Lenox Hill Hospital, said his longtime manager Joseph Rapp.
Born in Atlanta, Russell launched his television career as Officer Anderson in the 1961 television series “Car 54, Where are You?” He also appeared in the 1994 film version.
He was widely known for his television career including appearances on "The Dean Martin Show," "Hollywood Squares," "The $50,000 Pyramid," and "The Match Game"
He became a fixture on those popular television games and talk shows, where he was welcomed for his poetic delivery that earned him the moniker the “poet laureate of television.” He also took his signature four-line poetry on the road for readings and performances.
Russell also appeared in the films “Nemo” in 1984, “Wildcats” in 1986 and “Posse” in 1993.
He settled in New York after graduating from the University of Cincinnati and serving as an Army captain in Europe during World War II.