Russell Arthur Benson Jr. was born to Cynthia Lattof and Russell Benson. Russell Benson Sr. was a union plumber who had come back from Vietnam. Cynthia Lattof was a student at Gloucester State College. They divorced in 1979. Cynthia had moved Russell and his infant brother out to Sacramento, California where she met future husband Frank Russo. Frank adopted the two boys and Russell Arthur Benson Jr. name changed legally to Russell Austin Russo. The family then moved to Phoenix, Arizona before settling for a cross country drive in December 1982 to Long Branch, New Jersey where Frank’s family lived. The family rented homes and duplexes while having three more children. In April 1992, the Russo family moved to Rumson, New Jersey. Russ finished his senior year of high school at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional and graduated in 1994.He then moved with long time girlfriend Laura Wood to Clearwater, Florida in June 1996. The relationship dissolved and in November 1997, Russell moved back to Rumson, New Jersey. Russ was studying business-finance at Brookdale College. In February 1999, he stumbled upon the Jewelbox Theatre. Jade Greene, the director of the theatre, was offering internships for acting classes. In the months to follow, he studied Alexander, Meisner, Stella Adler, Lee Strausberg and Method acting. Russ worked as a utility actor in various plays during the internship before landing a lead role in Clifford Oddet’s classic “Awake & Sing” playing Moe Axelrod, a role previously performed by Sanford Meisner. Russ began traveling to NYC to study at Tisch in various acting workshops as well as working with the NJ Theatre Exchange. In March 2002, he landed the lead role in the Independent film “Envy” portraying a character with multiple personality disorder. “Envy” won the Buzz award at the NY Independent Film Festival. Russ continues to act in various plays and films.