• William Hardy Russ IV is an American actor born in Portsmouth, VA in 1950.
• His most well-known roles include Alan Matthews in the 1990s TV comedy series "Boy Meets World", Paul Gaines in "Cruising", and Roy Dean Bream in the drama "Pastime".
• He is married to actress Clare Wren and has two children.
• He is an animal lover and has appeared in over 140 movies and TV series.
• His net worth is estimated at over $1.9 million.

Known for movies

Short Info

SpouseClare Wren
MarkOften plays stern fathers or violent criminals
FactHe started filming Life as a House (2001) playing Officer Kurt Walker, but was injured in a motorbike crash and replaced by Scott Bakula.

Who is actor William Russ?

William Hardy Russ IV was born in Portsmouth, Virginia USA, on 20 October 1950 – his zodiac sign is Leo and he holds American nationality. William is an actor, who is perhaps still best known for his portrayal of Alan Matthews, one of the lead characters in the 1990s TV comedy series “Boy Meets World”, also starring Ben Savage, Rider Strong and William Daniels, and which follows a teenager who with his best friend is testing his theories about growing up together – the series won five awards, and was nominated for 17 others.

Early life and education

William was raised an only child in Portsmouth by his father who was a taxi driver, and his mother who was a housewife.

Happy Birthday William Russ! The beloved actor — best known for his role as Alan Matthews on Boy Meets World — turns 67 today!

Posted by Fame10 on Friday, 20 October 2017

His parents urged him to focus on his education, but William spent half of his time while attending high school studying, and the other half playing sports such as football and soccer with his friends. He matriculated in 1968, and then enrolled at a college at which he became interested in acting, and began practicing his skills at a local theatre – he started appearing in his first plays while attending his senior year, and upon graduation in 1972, William focused on his career as an actor, and spent the following five years appearing solely in stage plays and refining his craft, before moving on to television.

Roles in movies

William has been credited with roughly 140 appearances in movies and TV series, and we are about to mention some of his most notable performances in this article.

He made his debut film appearance in 1977, when he played Sharon’s brother in the surrealist horror movie “Death Bed: The Bed That Eats”, written and directed by George Barry, and two years later, William portrayed the supporting character Demesta in the comedy “Just You and Me, Kid” which starred George Burns, Brooke Shields and Lorraine Gary. He gained recognition in 1980 when he portrayed Paul Gaines in the erotic thriller “Cruising”, which starred the famous actor Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino and Karen Allen, and which is based on the eponymous novel written by Gerald Walker – the story follows a serial killer who targets only gay men, especially those wearing leather clothes.

The following years saw William appear in several critically acclaimed movies, such as the 1982 neo-noir drama “The Border” which starred Jack Nicholson, the epic historical drama “The Right Stuff” based on the same-titled novel by Tom Wolfe in 1983, and the comedy “Beer” in 1985. The year 1988 saw him portray Luke in the horror movie “The Unholy”, which starred Ben Cross and Hal Holbrook, and in 1989 he starred as Nick Bartkowski in the heist comedy “Disorganized Crime”.

In 1991, William played the lead character Roy Dean Bream in the drama “Pastime”, which tells a story about aging, and follows a white baseball pitcher who starts training a black young pitcher in 1957 – the film won one award and was nominated for five others.

He went on to appear in the neo-noir erotic thriller “Traces of Red” in 1992, and the drama “Aspen Extreme” in 1993. In 1998, William was invited to play the supporting character Dennis Vinyard in the evergreen crime drama movie “American History X”, starring Edward Norton and Edward Furlong and which follows an ex neo-nazi skinhead as he tries to guide his brother and keep him away from gangs – it won four awards while it was nominated for 15 others including one Oscar, and holds 39th place on the list of the best movies ever created compiled by the movie and TV series’ rating website IMDb.

Three of William’s most recent notable performances in movies have been in the drama “Life as a House” in 2001, the independent feature movie “California Solo” in 2012, and the 2018 thriller “Drones”.

William Russ

It has been announced that William has been cast in two upcoming movies, the comedy thriller “Keeping Company”, and the drama “Chasing the Rain”.

Roles in TV series

William made his debut TV series appearance in 1978, when he portrayed Burt McGowan in the soap opera “Another World” starring Victoria Wyndham, Constance Ford and Hugh Marlowe, and which is about the people living in Bay City. It was very popular in the US, and won 43 awards while it was nominated for 176 others, including a Primetime Emmy during its airing from 1964 to 1999.

William went on to appear in single episodes of many , such as the action comedy “The Dukes of Hazzard” in 1982, the crime drama “Miami Vice” in 1985, and the medical drama “St. Elsewhere” in 1986.

He gained recognition in 1988 when cast to play Roger Lococo, one of the lead characters in the crime drama “Wiseguy”, created by Stephen J. Cannell and filmed in Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. The year 1992 saw William guest star in three episodes of the comedy “Middle Ages”, then again appeared in a single episode of many series, including the episode “Socrates’ Sister” of the weird western series “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” in 1993, the episode “The Life, Death, and Life of Wild Bill Hickok” of the science fiction western “Legend” in 1995, and the episode “The First Commandment” of the Canadian-American military science fiction adventure series “Stargate SG-1” in 1997.

William’s next lead role came in 2003, when he portrayed Tommy Doyle in the serial drama “Mister Sterling”, which also starred Josh Brolin and Audra McDonald in the story following the Governor of California’s son who becomes elected a Senator. In 2005, William appeared as Assistant District Attorney Christopher Palmer in five episodes of the comedy drama “Boston Legal”, while a few of his following roles were in the supernatural series “Ghost Whisperer” in 2007, the comedy drama “The Ex List” in which he played the supporting character Jimmy Bloom in nine episodes in 2008, and the episodic comedy web series “Home at Last”, which saw him play Bob in six episodes.

Three of William’s most recent roles in TV series have been in three episodes of the science fiction drama “Colony” in which he played Hennessey in 2017, three episodes of the police procedural web series “Bosch” as Captain Garwood in 2018, and two episodes of the procedural series “9-1-1” in 2019, portraying Chuck.


In 1992, William was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead for “Pastime”, and in 2012, he and his colleagues won a Silver Ace Award at the Las Vegas International Film Festival for “Green Guys”.

In 2019, William was nominated for a Jury Prize for Best Actor at the Open World Toronto Film Festival, for his performance in the short movie “Father by Law”.

Love life and wife

William met his future other half Clare Wren sometime in the mid-‘90s, and they started dating about a week later – not everyone supported their relationship, as William is 12 years older than Clare, however, they still married in the early 2000s in a private ceremony attended by their closest friends and family. Clare is an actress who is perhaps still best known for her roles in movies “Steel and Lace” and “Midnight Edition”, as well as in the series “JAG”. Several months after the wedding, Clare gave birth to their first child while their second child followed three years later – both Clare and William have kept their children away from the media’s attention.

William hasn’t talked about any other women he might have been with before meeting Clare, and as of September 2020, he is married and has two children.

Hobbies and other interests

William was physically quite active during his 20s and 30s, as it was important for his acting career, and he had multiple workout sessions at the gym each week and followed a somewhat strict diet.

He likes to portray bad guys and violent characters, and luckily for him, he’s usually cast in these kind of roles.

He is a lover of animals, and has had several pet dogs, while his favorite animals are horses. William has donated money to several animal shelters, as well as to ranches which take in ill or abandoned animals.

He has his own favorite actors and actresses, some of whom are the late Robin Williams, the late Leslie Nielsen, and Natalie Portman, and some of his favorite movies are “The Fisher King”, “Airplane!” and “V for Vendetta”.

Height and net worth

William’s age is 69. He has short brown hair and brown eyes, his height is 6ft (1.83m) and he weighs around 170lbs (77kgs).

As of September 2020, his net worth has been estimated at over $1.9 million.

General Info

Full NameWilliam Russ
Height1.83 m
ProfessionActor, Television Director
EducationNeighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, University of Michigan


SpouseClare Wren


NominationsIndependent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
MoviesAmerican History X, Disorganized Crime, Dead of Winter, Traces of Red, Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, Aspen Extreme, The Unholy, Finding John Christmas, Wanted: Dead or Alive, A Fork in the Road, Just You and Me, Kid, Have You Seen My Son, California Solo, Crisis at Central High, A Strange Affair, Re...
TV ShowsMister Sterling, Boy Meets World, Another World, Capital News, Middle Ages

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1Often plays stern fathers or violent criminals


1[on playing bad guy roles] In L.A., when you start out you work in TV and on TV there's the good guy who's usually someone like Don Johnson and then there's the bad guy. On a series all year there is only one good guy, but every week there's a different bad guy. If you can't play a bad guy, you won't work very much.
2[about his 'Wiseguy' character] 15 years later, people still say to me, "How's it going, buckwheat?"


1Only regular cast member to direct any Boy Meets World (1993) episodes, although guest stars Jerry Levine, Micky Dolenz, and Fred Savage also directed episodes.
2He wore the same brown leather jacket with a number 13 patch on the front in The Right Stuff (1983), in Hunter (1984) as the troubled Vietnam vet in the Fire Man episode and as the Roger LoCocco character in Wiseguy (1987).
3A self-affirmed "Navy brat" who graduated from the University of Michigan, where he studied drama.
4Trained at the Neighborhood Playhouse, he appeared on stage with Al Pacino in "The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel" and Holly Hunter in "Ghost on Fire."
5Married to actress Clare Wren and has a daughter and son.
6He started filming Life as a House (2001) playing Officer Kurt Walker, but was injured in a motorbike crash and replaced by Scott Bakula.
7Enjoys high-wind windsurfing.




In Between Days2017post-productionSonny
The Maestro2017post-productionAbe Herst
Open Season2017Short completedDoctor Burton
Girl Meets World2014-2017TV SeriesAlan Matthews
Chasing the Rain2016Ed
Olde E2016ShortSean Pennington
Magic Hour2015Bruce Fox
Scandal2015TV SeriesFrank Holland
NCIS: Los Angeles2013TV SeriesMartin Lake
Jonestown2013ShortLeo Ryan
Drones2013General Lawson
902102011-2013TV SeriesSalty
Vegas2012TV SeriesMert Hayes
NCIS2012TV SeriesPhilip Wickes
Awake2012TV SeriesJim Mayhew
Criminal Minds2012TV SeriesDonald Collins
California Solo2012Rusty
Home at Last2011-2012TV SeriesBob Snow
Green Guys2011Peter Donnelly
Home at Last2011Video shortBob
Leverage2011TV SeriesMorris Beck
The Defenders2011TV SeriesEMT Carrick
The Whole Truth2010TV SeriesBridgeport Detective
1,001 Ways to Enjoy the Missionary Position2010Evan
The Event2010TV SeriesOfficer Nugent
Make It or Break It2010TV SeriesWalter
Cold Case2010TV SeriesTim Hudson '10
The Young and the Restless2009-2010TV SeriesTucker McCall
A Fork in the Road2009Detective Ross
The Mentalist2009TV SeriesDooley Gerber
The Ex List2008-2009TV SeriesJimmy Bloom
Pawn2009ShortJustin Elliot Randolph
Gary's Walk2009Vernon
Boston Legal2005-2008TV SeriesA.D.A. Christopher Palmer
Wildfire2008TV SeriesCongressman Dean Nichols
Demons2007TV MovieSenator Carney
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation2007TV SeriesJonah Quinn
Standoff2007TV SeriesWarren Keegan
Numb3rs2007TV SeriesMichael Shannon
Ghost Whisperer2007TV SeriesBill Bristow
Reunion2006TV SeriesCongress Clark
Just Legal2006TV SeriesBartender
The Sopranos2006TV SeriesPaul Calviac
Without a Trace2005TV SeriesMax Cassidy
The West Wing2005TV SeriesDan
Silver Lake2004TV MoviePhil Patterson
NYPD Blue2004TV SeriesHal Matheson
JAG2004TV SeriesGeneral Earl Watson
CSI: NY2004TV SeriesMr. Prescott
Deadwood2004TV SeriesOtis Russell
Finding John Christmas2003TV MovieHank McAllister
The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire2003TV SeriesReverend Deeker
Dragnet2003TV SeriesTed Paris
Mister Sterling2003TV SeriesTommy Doyle
Robbery Homicide Division2002TV SeriesElliot Ayers
MDs2002TV SeriesJames Wiles
Crossing Jordan2002TV SeriesD.A. Jack Olson
The Division2002TV SeriesJesse Whalen
Touched by an Angel2001TV SeriesProf. Thomas North
Life as a House2001uncredited
Buck Naked Arson2001Ranger Joe Lightcap
Blackout2001/ITV MovieDavid Robbins
Level 92000TV SeriesDeputy Director John Colter
Ally McBeal2000TV SeriesMichael Bassett
Boy Meets World1993-2000TV SeriesAlan Matthews / Costello / Boris
The Test of Love1999TV MovieMark Whitman
Come On, Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story1999TV MovieJoseph Bonaduce
Replacing Dad1999TV MovieGeorge Marsh
American History X1998Dennis Vinyard
When Danger Follows You Home1997Detective Tyler Barnes
Stargate SG-11997TV SeriesCaptain Jonas Hanson
Night Sins1997TV MovieSheriff Steiger
Nash Bridges1996TV SeriesScott Lamont / 'The Monk'
A Husband, a Wife and a Lover1996TV MovieArt Maskin
Have You Seen My Son1996TV MovieVan Stein
Trail of Tears1995TV MovieDavid
Legend1995TV SeriesWild Bill Hickock
The Marshal1995TV SeriesLoyal Truscott
Big Dreams & Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story1995TV MovieBill West
Viper1994TV SeriesMr. Townsend
SeaQuest 20321993TV SeriesRusty Thomas
CBS Schoolbreak Special1993TV SeriesCoach Jim Doane
The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.1993TV SeriesJack Randolph
Aspen Extreme1993Dave Ritchie
Bay City Story1992TV MovieJim Malone
Middle Ages1992TV SeriesTerry Hannon
Traces of Red1992Michael Dobson
Sexual Advances1992TV MovieJack French
Drive Like Lightning1992TV MovieBoll Donner
Crazy from the Heart1991TV MovieDewey Whitcomb
The Young Riders1991TV SeriesRoger
Gabriel's Fire1991TV SeriesBrad Fixx
Pastime1990Roy Dean Bream
A Promise to Keep1990TV MovieCarl
Wiseguy1988-1990TV SeriesRoger LoCocco
Nasty Boys1989-1990TV SeriesBen Farlow
ABC TGIF1990TV SeriesAlan
Capital News1990TV SeriesRedmond Dunne
Nasty Boys1989TV MovieBen Farlow
Disorganized Crime1989Nick Bartkowski
The Unholy1988Luke
The Loner1988TV MovieJake Willis
Tour of Duty1987TV SeriesSgt. Earl Ray Michaels
Wanted: Dead or Alive1987Det. Danny Quintz
Dead of Winter1987Rob Sweeney
Houston: The Legend of Texas1986TV MovieWilliam Travis
Crime Story1986TV SeriesDet. Wes Connelly
Second Serve1986TV MovieJosh
Blood & Orchids1986TV MovieLloyd Murdoch
St. Elsewhere1986TV SeriesPatrick O'Casey
The Long Hot Summer1985TV MovieJody Varner
Beer1985Merle Draggett
Command 51985TV MovieJ.D. Smith
Hunter1985TV SeriesJack Lachman
Miami Vice1985TV SeriesEvan Freed
Riptide1985TV SeriesMack McPherson
MacGruder and Loud1985TV SeriesOwen
The Right Stuff1983Slick Goodlin
V1983TV Mini-SeriesBrad
Remington Steele1983TV SeriesChance McCormick
The Dukes of Hazzard1982TV SeriesScroggins
Rehearsal for Murder1982TV MovieFrank Heller
CBS Library1982TV SeriesRattlesnake
The Border1982Jimbo
Cattle Annie and Little Britches1981Little Dick Raidler
Crisis at Central High1981TV MovieJ.O. Powell
Cruising1980Paul Gaines
Just You and Me, Kid1979Demesta
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats1977Sharon's Brother (as Rusty Russ)
Another World1964TV SeriesBurt McGowan (1978)


Girl Meets World2015-2016TV Series production staff - 42 episodes


Girl Meets World2015TV Series 1 episode
Lizzie McGuire2003TV Series 1 episode
Rude Awakening2000TV Series 1 episode
Boy Meets World1998-2000TV Series 9 episodes


Bum Rap2009Short special thanks


The Pat Sajak Show1989TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

The BubbleDocumentary completedAlan Matthews
Miami Vice1988TV SeriesEvan Freed
Crime Story1986TV SeriesDet. Wes Connelly


Won Awards

2012Silver Ace AwardLas Vegas International Film FestivalFeaturesGreen Guys (2011)

Nominated Awards

1992Independent Spirit AwardIndependent Spirit AwardsBest Male LeadPastime (1990)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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