The worlds of politics and comedy are mourning one of America’s great satirists. Mark Russell, who poked fun at presidents from Eisenhower to Biden, died at his home Thursday. He was 90 years old.
From 1961 until 1981, Russell held court at D.C.’s Shoreham Hotel behind his star-spangled piano.
From 1975 until 2004, he took his wit and trademark bow tie to a national audience on PBS.
“He had the most brilliant jokes; he had a sensitivity about him that was very smart and heartfelt and very lovable,” said Jon Carroll of the Starland Vocal Band, who started his career in D.C.
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They remained friends for decades after Russell appeared on the Starland Vocal Band’s TV show.
“Mark was such a consummate entertainer and had this ebullient zeal, not merely in shows, anywhere he went,” Carroll said. “I think he realized at a certain point that folks expected make a grand entrance, and he never disappointed.”
In 2006, Russell sat down with News4’s Arch Campbell and talked about his jokes and making sure he remained bipartisan.
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“Yeah, I hate them all,” he quipped.
Russell never stopped writing and singing his parodies. His wife, Alison, posted his songs on social media as recently as late last year.
Russell’s wife said he died from prostate cancer.