(written from a Production point of view)
Timothy Darrell Russ (born 22 June 1956; age 64), better known as Tim Russ, is an actor who has portrayed different characters in various Star Trek television series and movies; however, he is best known for his portrayal of Lieutenant Commander Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager. He also directed the Voyager fourth season episode "Living Witness".
Along with Jonathan Frakes, Russ is one of the only Star Trek actors to have appeared on-screen with four Star Trek series captains. (Frakes did appear in Star Trek Generations with Kirk actor William Shatner, but he did not share any scenes with him. Russ, on the other hand, did share scenes with Shatner in that movie.)
One of Russ' favorite movies is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. One of his favorite actors is the late William Marshall, who appeared on the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Ultimate Computer" as Doctor Richard Daystrom. (citation needed • edit) Russ once cited his favorite TOS episodes as "Assignment: Earth", "All Our Yesterdays", and "Balance of Terror". (Star Trek: Communicator issue 101, p. 53)
Early life and career
Born in Washington, DC, Russ spent his childhood in a number of different places, as his father was a United States Air Force officer. He wound up graduating from high school in Turkey, earning his diploma from Rome Academy in New York, and receiving a BS in Theater Arts from St. Edward's University in Texas. He then received a full scholarship from Illinois State University, where he continued studying the theater. During his early life, Tim Russ owned many dogs.
Russ began acting full time in 1985. In October of that year, he appeared in episodes of The Twilight Zone and Hunter (the latter of which he acted alongside Bruce Davison, Gary Graham, and Tony Plana). The following year, he made his feature film debut, playing Robert Johnson in the musical drama Crossroads. He followed this with another film that same year: the romantic drama Fire with Fire, starring Virginia Madsen.
In 1987, Tim Russ auditioned for the role of Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the part was given to LeVar Burton. However, he did win the role of D.C. Montana in the TV movie pilot for an action series called The Highwayman that same year. The series was subsequently picked up and debuted in 1988, with Russ as a regular cast member. However, the series only lasted nine episodes before being canceled.
In the meantime, Russ continued to make guest appearances on such TV shows as Hill Street Blues (with Anne Haney and James B. Sikking), Jake and the Fatman (with his future Voyager co-star, Dwight Schultz), Beauty and the Beast (with Ron Perlman and Warren Munson), and Alien Nation, starring Gary Graham and Eric Pierpoint.
Russ made a memorable, though brief, appearance in the popular science fiction spoof Spaceballs. In the movie, Russ plays a trooper who is assigned to literally comb a desert using an over-sized comb. When asked if he had found anything, Russ' frustrated trooper proclaims, "We ain't found shit!" Dey Young also made an appearance in Spaceballs as a waitress.
In addition, Russ appeared in the 1987 action film Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (Marina Sirtis had appeared in Death Wish 3), the 1988 sci-fi/horror film Pulse, starring Cliff DeYoung, and the 1988 drama Bird, which featured Bill Cobbs, Hamilton Camp, and Tony Todd. Also in 1988, Russ co-starred with James Sloyan and Leigh Taylor-Young in the telefilm Who Gets the Friends? and was one of several Star Trek performers to appear in the TV special Roots: The Gift. His co-stars in this latter film included Avery Brooks (later to star as Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), LeVar Burton, and Kate Mulgrew (who, of course, went on to co-star with Russ on Star Trek: Voyager).
Russ' work in the early 1990s included the TV movies The Heroes of Desert Storm (with Glenn Morshower), Journey to the Center of the Earth (with F. Murray Abraham and Carel Struycken), and Bitter Vengeance (co-starring Virginia Madsen and Bruce Greenwood); the films Eve of Destruction, Mr. Saturday Night and Dead Connection; and guest appearances on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (a Christmas two-parter, including one episode which guest-starred Kenneth Tigar), Murphy Brown (as a Secret Service agent who keeps Murphy from approaching the Easter egg hunt on the White House lawn) and episodes of the short-lived Cop Rock (starring Ronny Cox) and Tequila and Bonetti (starring Charles Rocket). He also guest-starred in an episode of Melrose Place with Casey Biggs. He later appeared in an episode of the short-lived television show seaQuest DSV, where he played a noteworthy computer hacker named Martin Clemens, who was nicknamed "Mycroft" (clearly after the brother of Sherlock Holmes).
In 1993, he was cast in his first Star Trek role, playing Devor in the Next Generation episode "Starship Mine". He followed this with the role of T'Kar on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine later that same year. These roles (and his appearance in the film Star Trek Generations) ultimately won him the role of Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager, which debuted in January of 1995. He played the role for the next seven years.
After his Trek directing debut with the episode "Living Witness", Russ was prepared to direct another episode in season six but was not chosen to do so. He also said that he worked with four and a half Trek captains, namely William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, and Genevieve Bujold and that the crew produced a blooper tape of the first season which was not published. (Trekworld, June 1999)
Although Voyager took up most of Russ' time, he nonetheless had the chance to co-write, direct, and star in the 1998 independent drama film East of Hope Street. He also voiced the character of Hobie Brown, aka the Prowler, for an episode of the animated Spider-Man series based on the characters appearing in Marvel Comics.
Since Voyager's end in 2001, Russ has focused on directing as well as his singing career. In 2001, he released his second album through independent distribution, Kushangaza, featuring the song "Kushangaza". This song could also be seen (and heard) in a hidden music video on disc 7 of the Star Trek: Voyager season 2 DVD.
In 2003, Russ directed the short film Roddenberry on Patrol, a comedic look at Gene Roddenberry's search to create Star Trek. He assigned a number of other Trek to appear in the film, including TOS stars Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, and George Takei (who narrated) and Voyager co-stars Robert Beltran, Ethan Phillips, and Robert Picardo. Featured as Montgomery Scott was actor Bart Shattuck. Russ himself also appeared in the film.
In 2005, he appeared in an episode of ER, along with Mädchen Amick and Leland Orser, and the following year he appeared with Star Trek: Enterprise star Connor Trinneer in an episode of NCIS called "Jeopardy". He also had roles in the films The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005, co-starring Richard Herd and Time Winters) and The OH in Ohio (2006). In addition, he had a recurring role on the short-lived NBC TV series Twenty Good Years and on the soap opera General Hospital. Most recently, he made a brief appearance as an agent on Without a Trace, starring Enrique Murciano and played a throat doctor in an episode of the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana entitled "I Am Hannah, Hear Me Croak".
Russ directed and starred in the internet-release-only mini-series Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, complete with a Star Trek-related cast, including Nichols, Koenig, Grace Lee Whitney, Alan Ruck, Garrett Wang, Chase Masterson, J.G. Hertzler, Gary Graham, and Crystal Allen.
Russ can be seen in the fourth Die Hard film, Live Free or Die Hard. He also starred as Frank the doorman on the ABC comedy series Samantha Who?, which was produced and sometimes directed by Russ' Voyager castmate Robert Duncan McNeill (a satire of the show in the May 2008 issue of MAD magazine showed Russ' character with Vulcan ears and a Starfleet combadge on his jacket).
In 2009, Russ voiced Zathrian, an elf, in the Bioware game Dragon Age: Origins (with Kate Mulgrew and S.A. Templeman). Russ once again worked with "Darkling" guest star David Lee Smith on CSI: Miami in the 6th episode "Meltdown", playing a character in law enforcement, just like Smith's Rick Stetler.
Russ recently co-starred with Robert Picardo in a web series pilot for Funny or Die called Chad and the Alien Toupee.
From 2007 to 2012, Russ appeared as a recurring character in Nickelodeon's iCarly. He plays Ted Franklin, the principal at Ridgeway school, which the main characters attend.
As of 2013, Russ is working on reprising his role as Tuvok in Star Trek: Renegades, a pilot episode for a possible web series, along with Walter Koenig who is to reprise his role as Pavel Chekov and Manu Intiraymi as Icheb. The proposed series is set well after Star Trek: Voyager and involves the Vulcan joining a reformed Section 31 in order to save the Federation from a new threat.
More recently, Russ announced his participation in the new episode "A Step Between Stars" of the video game Star Trek Online in which he'd also reprise his role as Admiral Tuvok. . He returned for the game's Season 9 update, including the episode "Surface Tension" and is set to return in the game's second expansion "Delta Rising" alongside fellow Voyager alum Garrett Wang.
In 2018, Russ guest-starred in The CW hit DC TV series Supergirl, as a Kryptonian Argo City councilmen, Jul-Us.
In 2019, Russ became one of many Star Trek franchise actors to appear on The Orville (alongside main cast members Seth MacFarlane, Penny Johnson, and Scott Grimes), appearing as Dr. Sherman in the episode "Lasting Impressions."
In 2020, Russ had a cameo role in The Midnight Sky, which also featured Ethan Peck. He also did voice work for the Shadowlands expansion of the MMORPG World of Warcraft, as the character Thenios.
Star Trek appearances
Voice acting credits
- Malibu DS9:
|Star Trek: Voyager regular cast|
|Robert Beltran • Roxann Dawson • Jennifer Lien • Robert Duncan McNeill • Kate Mulgrew • Ethan Phillips • Robert Picardo • Tim Russ • Jeri Ryan • Garrett Wang|