John Lawrence Russell was an American actor, and World War II veteran, most noted for playing Marshal Dan Troop in the successful ABC western television series Lawman from 1958 to 1962.
Born in Los Angeles, California, he fit the Hollywood image of tall, dark, and handsome. He attended the University of California as a student athlete. Following the outbreak of World War II, he joined the United States Marines, though he was initially rejected because of his height [6 ft 4 in ]. He was commissioned as second lieutenant on November 11, 1942, and was assigned to the 6th Marine Regiment. His division was sent to Guadalcanal, where he served as an assistant intelligence officer. He contracted malaria and returned home with a medical discharge.
John Russell's first film appearance was in Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as Otis Hopper. Russell was contracted to 20th Century Fox in several supporting roles, and later was signed with Republic Pictures. He primarily played secondary roles, often in western films, but in 1952 starred opposite Judy Canova in Oklahoma Annie.
In 1955 Russell was given the lead role in a television drama called Soldiers of Fortune. The half-hour adventure show placed him and his sidekick, played by Chick Chandler, in a dangerous jungle setting. While the show proved popular with young boys, it did not draw enough adult viewers to its prime slot and was canceled in 1957.