Russell, Lynne 1946-
RUSSELL, Lynne 1946-
PERSONAL: Born November 1, 1946, in Orange, NJ; daughter of John Russell (an army officer) and Carmela Pasqualina (a homemaker; maiden name, Evangelista) Russell; married first husband, c. 1966 (divorced, c. 1971); married Jim Dunlap (a radio programming consultant, volunteer deputy sheriff, and part-time paramedic), 1978 (divorced); children (first marriage): John. Education: Attended the University of Colorado (nursing program). Hobbies and other interests: SCUBA diving, Choi Kwang Do karate.
CAREER: Worked for radio and television stations across the country, including KCOL, Fort Collins, CO; WKAT, Miami, FL; WLTV, Jacksonville, FL; Boston, MA, Honolulu, HI, and San Antonio, TX; Cable News Network (CNN) Headline News, Atlanta, GA, news anchor, 1983-2001; licensed private investigator, 1993—; deputy sheriff, Fulton County, GA; actress in the Canadian television series The Ride; purveyor of Lynne Russell's Temptations & Treasures makeup line.
AWARDS, HONORS: Excellence in Journalism Award, St. Bonaventure University.
How to Win Friends, Kick Ass, and Influence People, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A sequel to How to Win Friends, Kick Ass, and Influence People.
SIDELIGHTS: Lynne Russell is not an average news anchor. She originally intended to be a nurse, but she dropped out of nursing school at the University of Colorado because the heartbreak of caring for severely ill patients often made her cry. Her first job in the media, taken shortly after leaving college, was acting as a secretary for a small Fort Collins, Colorado, radio station. Shortly thereafter, she was writing commercials for the station, and by the time she left that job in 1971 she had been promoted to a position as a full-time disc jockey. In 1971 Russell moved to Miami, where she met her husband, Jim Dunlap, who was also working in the media. The two worked at competing Miami radio stations: Russell was program director for a talk-radio station; Dunlap was program director of Miami's biggest Top Forty station.
Russell and Dunlap worked in media markets across the country, including Boston, Massachusetts, Honolulu, Hawaii, and San Antonio, Texas, before settling in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1983. The Cable News Network (CNN) Headline News cable channel had just been launched in that city, and Russell, encouraged by a friend, sent them an audition tape and was hired. From 1983 until 2001 Russell was recognized as the station's "face of the news." For most of her time at the network, she was the weeknight evening news anchor—a coveted position, as ratings are highest in the evenings.
When not working at Headline News, Russell studied karate (she holds two black belts) and worked as both a deputy sheriff and a private investigator. (She performed the latter job on a volunteer basis, to avoid any conflict of interest with her work as a reporter.) "I'm sure I'm the only news anchor in the business whose husband gave her a thigh holster for Christmas," Russell once joked to People interviewer Michael A. Lipton.
All of those various life experiences went into Russell's first book, How to Win Friends, Kick Ass, and Influence People. As Russell's Web site explains, the book "explores the liberating concepts of each of us appreciating and utilizing our own abilities and talents, peaceful coexistence with the opposite gender, and celebration of 'la difference!'" In a review of the book in USA Today, Ann Oldenburg commented that there are "pearls of wisdom in [Russell's] frank and funny book." However, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly stated, "While her humor may work with a live audience . . . it dies on the page."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Broadcasting and Cable, May 21, 2001, Dan Trigoboff, "News Veterans Sign Off," p. 8; June 25, 2001, Dan Trigoboff, "Turnabout," p. 4.
Multichannel News, May 21, 2001, Steve Donohue, "Today's Headline: Russell Bows Out," p. 6.
New York Times Book Review, January 30, 2000, Rick Marin, review of How to Win Friends,, p. 10.
People, June 27, 1994, Michael A. Lipton, "Here Now, the Sleuth: A CNN Anchor Doubles As a Private Eye," pp. 63-64.
Publishers Weekly, October 18, 1999, Jeff Zaleski, Paul Gediman, Charlotte Abbott, and Sarah Gold, review of How to Win Friends, Kick Ass, and Influence People, p. 61.
Saturday Evening Post, May-June, 1995, John Christensen, "Lynne Russell: CNN's Straight-Shooting Anchorwoman," pp. 34-38.
USA Today, June 15, 2001, Ann Oldenburg, "Celebs of a Certain Age Explain It All," p. E6.
Washington Post, May 18, 2001, "Sunk in a Funk without Anchor Lynne Russell," p. C1.
Lynne Russell Home Page,http://www.lynne-russell.com/ (November 13, 2003).*