Who is Rose Swisher: All you need to know about the first wife of NBA legend Bill Russell


Rose Swisher is the ex-wife of basketball legend Bill Russell. Russell was an American professional basketball player who played as a centre for the National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics from 1956 to 1969. Swisher was Russell’s first of four spouses.

Rose was born in Chicago and attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo before becoming a social activist in the 1960s. She was among the students who protested the Vietnam War. Rose campaigned for social justice her entire life.

Rose Swisher supported Bill Russell’s basketball career while also pursuing her own hobbies during their marriage. She was a skilled seamstress who designed many of her own clothing. She was also an active member of the Boston community, volunteering with a variety of philanthropic causes.

Few people are aware that Rose was one of the first African-American supermodels of the 1950s and 1960s, having been on the covers of “Ebony” magazine and on fashion runways. She was also well-known as the face of Maybelline Cosmetics.

Profile of Rose Swisher

Full NameRose Swisher
Date of BirthNovember 26, 1933
Place of BirthPennsylvania, USA
Ethnicity Black American
ProfessionModel and Photographer
SpouseBill Russell (Divorced)
ChildrenKaren Russell, William Felton Jr. (late) and Jacob H. Russell
Height5 feet 5 inches
Eye ColorBlack
Date of death 11th September 2014
Education University of San Francisco 
Profile of Rose Swisher

Bill Russell’s Spouse, Rose Swisher

Rose Swisher on her wedding day

Rose Swisher and Bill Russell married on December 9, 1956, after meeting in college. Their long-lasting marriage lasted until 1973, when they divorced. During their marriage, they had three children: Jacob Russell, William Russell Jr., and Karen Russell.

Rose Swisher led a secluded and restrained existence, preferring to remain out of the public glare. As a result, little information regarding her personal life has been made public. Karen Russell, their daughter, chose a different path and became a television analyst and a lawyer, going into the public eye.

In 2016, the couple suffered the devastating death of their first son, William Russell Jr., who died of cancer. The family overcame this devastating loss, and their darling son’s legacy lives on.

Russell married Dorothy Anstett in 1977, following their divorce. In 1968, Anstett was crowned Miss USA. Despite the fact that the couple separated in 1980, their relationship was fraught with controversy due to Anstett’s race.

Bill Russel

Bill Russel

Bill Russell is a retired American professional basketball player widely recognised as one of the sport’s all-time greats. On February 12, 1934, he was born in West Monroe, Louisiana, USA.

Bill Russell spent his entire NBA career as a centre for the Boston Celtics, from 1957 to 1969. He was well-known for his outstanding defensive abilities, shot-blocking abilities, and court leadership.

Russell was a powerful force in the NBA, helping the Boston Celtics win 11 NBA titles, making him one of the most decorated champions in basketball history.

Aside from his achievements on the court, Bill Russell was an outspoken campaigner for civil rights and social justice. During his playing career, he suffered racial discrimination and adversity, but he stayed strong in his devotion to equality. He used his platform and influence to speak out against racial injustice and promote social change throughout his life.

Bill Russell went on to serve as a coach, a sports commentator, and remained involved in numerous social causes after retiring from professional basketball. His achievements to basketball and impact on civil rights have made him a famous figure in both sports and American history.

Professional Career of Bill Russel

Professional Career of Bill Russel

Bill Russell had a tremendous basketball career that spanned two decades, making an indelible effect on the game and solidifying his place as one of the all-time greats. Here are some of Bill Russell’s most notable achievements:

  • Bill Russell went to the University of San Francisco and played basketball for the Dons from 1953 to 1956. He led the Dons to back-to-back NCAA Championships in 1955 and 1956, and was awarded the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player both years.
  • Russell was picked as the second overall choice in the 1956 NBA Draught by the Boston Celtics. From 1957 to 1969, he spent his entire NBA career with the Celtics. He won an astonishing 11 NBA championships with the Celtics (1957, 1959-1966, 1968, 1969), making him the most decorated winner in NBA history.
  • Defensive Dominance: Bill Russell was renowned for his defensive prowess. He was an exceptional shot-blocker, rebounder, and defensive leader. His defensive skills and basketball IQ revolutionized the way the centre position was played.
  • 5-time MVP: Russell won the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award five times in his career (1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965).
  • Olympic Success: Russell won a gold medal representing the United States at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
  • He was selected to the NBA All-Star squad 12 times during his career.
  • After retiring as a player, Bill Russell briefly served as a player-coach for the Celtics during the 1966-67 season, becoming the NBA’s first African American coach. During that season, he guided the Celtics to yet another championship.
  • Bill Russell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.

Relationships of Bill Russel

The romantic relationships of Bill Russell have not been publicly publicised or carefully documented. Throughout his life, he was known for keeping his personal life, especially his sexual relationships, relatively secret.

Bill Russell’s most well-known romantic relationship was with his first wife, Rose Swisher. They married on December 9, 1956, and were married until their divorce in 1973. Jacob Russell, William Russell Jr., and Karen Russell were their three children.

Bill Russell has had four wives in his life. Bill’s fourth wife is Jeannine. Rose Swisher (1956-1973), Dorothy Anstett (1977-1980), and Marilyn Nault (1996-2009) were his prior wives.

Russell married her second wife Dorothy in 1977, after a five-year marriage. Dorothy was Bill Russell’s second wife. Despite the fact that the former Miss USA in 1968 and Russell were first pleased. However, things deteriorated and they separated in 1980.

Nault, Marilyn Russell was born on January 15, 1950, in Concordia, Kansas. Marilyn was Bill Russell’s third wife. As a result, she was nearly sixteen years younger than Russell. Nault began working as a jewellery salesperson after graduating from high school. She met Russell at the time

Russell’s connection with Marilyn lasted longer than her previous marriages. Unfortunately, Marilyn died of cancer in 2009, and their romance came to an end. Russell needed a long time to recover from her death.

Russell married her fourth wife, Jeannine, in 2016. Jeannine was Bill Russell’s fourth wife. She was a professional golfer who earned the Canadian Women’s Golf Tour Player of the Year award in 2010. However, it is unclear how Russell met Jeannine.

Childerns of Rose Swisher

Bill Russell is the delighted father of three children: Karen, William Jr. (nicknamed “Daequan”), and Jaclyn. He is widely considered as one of the best basketball players of all time.

Karen Russell, the eldest child, was born in Miami, Florida on July 10, 1981. She is an acclaimed novelist and educator who received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in 2006.

Karen’s literary works are notable for their peculiar combination of surrealism and realism, which has earned her considerable acclaim.

Her published works, notably “Swamplandia!” gained widespread acclaim, and the novel was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Karen Russell is now a creative writing instructor at Columbia University School of the Arts.

William Jr., born in California on October 13, 1983, followed in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a basketball career. He demonstrated his abilities in both European professional leagues and the NBA Development League.

Aside from his athletic career, William pursued a career in broadcasting, where he thrived as an analyst and commentator for NBA TV and NBA on TNT.

Jaclyn Russell, the youngest sibling, was born on March 11, 1987 in California. Her studies took her to Loyola Marymount University, where she majored in Business Administration. Jaclyn is a thriving real estate agent serving clients in Southern California.

Bill Russell’s legacy extends beyond his legendary basketball career, as he raised accomplished and brilliant children who have all achieved success in their own industries.


Q: Is BIll Russel stll alive?

No, Bill Russell is no longer alive.

What is the Number of Children Bill Russell and Rose Swisher Have?

Rose Swisher and Bill Russell’s 17-year marriage produced three children: two sons and a daughter. Jacob, Karen, and William Jr.


Rose Swisher is no longer alive.

Who Were the Wives of Bill Russell?

Bill Russell, a retired basketball player, was married four times. Rose Swisher was Bill Russell’s first wife. They married in 1956 and had three children before splitting up in 1973. Bill Russell married Dorothy Anstett in 1977, following his divorce from Rose Swisher. Russell married Marilyn, her third wife, in 1996. Russell married her fourth wife, Jeannine, in 2016.

What Led to the Divorce of Bill and Rose?

Rose filed for divorce from Bill in 1973, citing irreconcilable differences as the cause for their split. There is no way to characterise Bill’s condition if it weren’t for me, Rose once said. He’d have died by now.


Rose Swisher, Bill Russell’s first wife, died at the age of 86. Her son William and daughter Karen Russell, who is married to multimillionaire Dikembe Mutombo, survive her.

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