Volume 76, Number 15 | August 30 -September 5, 2006


Eric Russell, Downtown actor and dancer, dies at 82

Eric Russell, an actor, dancer and performer well known in the Downtown arts community, died July 27 at age 82 in New York City.

He was born Russell Sohlberg in Schenectady, N.Y., on March 24, 1924, to Eric G. and Margaret T. Sohlberg. He graduated from the University of Chicago and was a World War II veteran.

For the last 20 years, Russell lived on W. 11th St. in Greenwich Village. Prior to that, he resided in Levittown on Long Island.

He changed his name to Eric Russell as a performer. He studied with many luminaries, such as Doris Humphrey, Jose Limon, Martha Graham and Louis Horst, and danced with choreographers Pina Bausch, Nathaneal Buckley, Donna Uchizono, Coyote Dancers, Margarita Guergue, Anne Hammel, Wendy Perron, Stephanie Nelson and Mary Seidman, to name a few.  He was also a member of Actors’ Equity and SAG.

Following retirement from life as a technical appraiser for what is now United Technologies, he rejoined the film and arts communities, continuing to perform up to his death. Russell was remembered as a storyteller and an energetic jack-of-all-trades capable of constructing a wall or sewing his own costumes.

His wife, Arleen, predeceased him. Russell is survived by his two brothers, Eric and Karl, and son, Gregory.

Russell donated his body to N.Y.U. Medical Center. A memorial is planned for the fall at a date to be announced.

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