Though he was born in Washington, D.C., African-American film and television actor Tim Russ came of age in Turkey, where he attended Izmir High School for a brief period. Russ returned to the Big Apple prior to graduation and enrolled in Rome Academy, then studied theatrical arts at Saint Edwards University (as an undergraduate) and at Illinois State University (as a graduate student).
Russ launched his film career on an exciting note, with his portrayal of blues legend Robert Johnson in Walter Hill's defiantly individualistic cinematic fable Crossroads (1986); he also delighted schtick fans the following year as the trooper hopelessly lost in the desert in Mel Brooks' gag-laden sci-fi spoof Spaceballs, and landed a plum supporting role in Clint Eastwood's homage to Charlie Parker, Bird (1988). Though Russ' subsequent work during the late '80s and the '90s occasionally dipped into exploitation -- such as his involvement in the lurid bedroom thriller Night Eyes 2 (1991) -- the actor also landed in more respectable fare from time to time. For instance, he joined the cast of the Billy Crystal comedy drama Mr. Saturday Night (1992) and appeared in a few episodes of the popular Will Smith sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Russ left his most memorable mark, however, on Trekkies -- first with some appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, then with his evocation of Lt. Commander Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager -- a role he carried from 1995 through 2001. In 2007, Russ returned to comedy, playing sarcastic doorman Frank on the Christina Applegate sitcom Samantha Who?, and playing Principal Franklin on the Disney series iCarly.