Who Is Jeannine Russell, Bill Russell’s Wife?

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Jeannine Russell is best known as the wife of Bill Russell, who was an American professional basketball player who played as a center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1956 to 1969. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a 12-time NBA All-Star, he was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won 11 NBA championships during his 13-year career. Russell and Henri Richard of the National Hockey League are tied for the record of the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. He was the first overall pick in the 1956 NBA draft and won two NCAA championships as a player with the San Francisco Dons (1955, 1956). He also captained the gold-medal winning United States national basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Russell is considered one of history’s greatest basketball players. Who Is Jeannine Russell, Bill Russell’s Wife?

Jeannine Russell, Bill Russell’s Wife

Russell was married to his college sweetheart Rose Swisher from 1956 to 1973. They had three children: daughter Karen Russell, a television pundit and lawyer, and sons William Jr. and Jacob. The couple grew emotionally distant and divorced.


In 1977, he married Dorothy Anstett, a former Miss USA who was also his third wife; they divorced in 1980. Russell married Marilyn Nault in 1996; their marriage lasted until her death in January 2009. Russell was previously married to Jeannine Russell at the time of his death. Charlie L. Russell, an older brother, is well-known playwright.

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Bill Russell Death Cause

Bill Russell passed away peacefully at age 88 with his wife, Jeannine, by his side. He won 11 titles with the Celtics between 1956 and 1969 and Olympic gold in Melbourne in 1956. Won two NCAA titles at San Francisco in 1955 and 56 and was a five-time NBA MVP and 12-time All-Star. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called him ‘the greatest champion in all of team sports’.

After the death of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, a civil rights activist who won 11 NBA titles and was the league’s first African-American coach, former President Barack Obama delivered tributes. Bill Russell’s 11 NBA championships with the Celtics occurred between 1956 and 1969, during one of basketball’s most dominant eras, but he encountered tremendous racism and abuse while playing for Boston.

Russell was a vocal advocate for equality throughout his life, using his influence to advance civil rights. He was at the March on Washington in 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, and he supported Muhammad Ali when the boxer was persecuted for refusing induction into the military service. In 2011, Russell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama – the highest civilian honor in the United States.

Upon learning of his death, Obama tweeted: ‘Today, we lost a giant. As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far higher — both as a player and as a person.

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