Full Name: Julius "Nipsey" Russell
Born: September 15, 1918 in Atlanta, Georgia
Died: October 2, 2005 at age 87
Net Worth: $6 million
Relationship Status: Married
With his quick wit, rhyming skills, and infectious spirit, Julius "Nipsey" Russell charmed audiences for over 4 decades. He rose to fame as a regular on game shows like Hollywood Squares in the 60s and 70s. Though Russell passed in 2005, he remains one of the most iconic comedic personalities of his era.
Russell got his start in amateur comedy shows, developing his signature "poetic style" on stage. After serving in WWII, he landed his first big break on Broadway in 1945. Throughout the late 40s, Russell honed his act on variety shows like The Ed Sullivan Show.
Rise to Stardom
Russell‘s fame skyrocketed in the 1960s when he became a regular panelist on Hollywood Squares, Match Game, and Password. According to game show host Peter Marshall, Russell was the "life of the party." His quick comebacks and rhyming responses were a hit. Russell also appeared on Laugh-In, The Tonight Show, and made over 100 guest spots on The Dean Martin Show.
Even in his 70s and 80s, Russell continued performing stand-up and acting. He appeared in films like Car Wash and Wildcats, as well as TV shows like The Fresh Prince and Diff‘rent Strokes. Russell received several lifetime achievement awards, including entry into the Television Hall of Fame in 1997.
Russell brought pure joy and laughter into living rooms across America for decades. His clever wordplay and lovable persona paved the way for future black comedians and game show stars. Though no longer with us, Russell‘s legacy lives on through reruns and recordings, allowing new generations to discover this comic icon.