d. September 2, 1934
A very popular singer, Russ was famous for songs like "Prisoner of Love" and "You Call It Madness But I Call It Love". He was as popular as crooners of the day like Rudee Vallee and Bing Crosby. Romantically linked to Carole Lombard and actress Sally Blane (sister of Loretta Young) and having starred in the movie, "Wake Up and Dream", Russ was on top of the world. But, he would end up dying in a freakish accident involving photographer Lansing Brown and an antique dueling pistol. Lansing Brown and Russ were the best of friends. Apparently, Brown, while holding the pistol, lit a match on it, causing the gun to go off, riccocheting off the mahogany desk and striking Russ in the left eye. Russ died later that night of his injuries. Russ's death was ruled an accident. He was only twenty-six years old.
One of the more fascinating aspects of the story was that Russ's mother, Julia, was never told of her son's death. Julia had suffered a heart attack several days before and the family, afraid of what it would do to her health if they told her about Russ, chose not to tell her. They told her that Russ had married Carole Lombard and was on tour in Europe. The family later told her that Russ was on extended tour. She would receive checks, being told by the family that they were from Russ but they were really payments from Russ's life insurance. Carole Lombard even helped to keep up the charade that would last ten years. Julia Columbo went to her grave never knowing her son had died, even though she had lost other children AND her husband in that ten years.
Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Vespers. To get to the Sanctuary of Vespers, go to the main enterance to the Great mausoleum, where the Last Supper Window is. Going to the Last Supper Window, hang a left and face the window. On the left hand side is the Sanctuary of Vespers. Russ is on the left side.
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