Who Was Rose Swisher? All About Bill Russell’s First Wife

Rose Swisher was an American model and photographer born December 27, 1929. She became one of four wives for William Russell, one of the greatest players ever in basketball history. Rose first met William while studying nursing at University of San Francisco whereas William studied physical education; after meeting, they fell deeply in love and later married before divorcing in 1973.

Rose Swisher was Bill Russell’s initial wife

Rose Russell married Bill Russell on December 9, 1956 and gave birth to three children – Jacob, William Jr and Karen Russell. Rose filed for divorce due to irreconcilable differences, which Rose has described as being irreparable between themselves. Rose once noted: – If it weren’t for me he would probably already be dead!However, most members of the general public do not know much about Bill Russell and Rose’s relationship. We will provide all the details about Rose from Bill’s autobiography My Life My Road (1985).

Bill Russell Wife

It’s hard not to find Bill Russell’s personal life intriguing and Rose was no exception – she married him on December 9, 1956 on the day when he signed with Boston Celtics 56 and later divorced in 1973. Rose was one of the earliest African-American supermodels of the 1950s and 1960s, frequently appearing on magazine covers like Ebony as well as fashion runways. She became widely recognized as the face of Maybelline Cosmetics. Rose married Bill in Cincinnati in 1961; their two daughters Karen (born 1972) was later born into their family unit; 5 years after this point the couple separated.Rose attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and became a prominent activist during her time there, joining student protests against Vietnam War. Rose always championed social justice throughout her life.

Bill Russell Bio

Bill Russell made an estimated earnings of approximately $450k during 1961-62 – the inaugural season that NBA players could negotiate their contracts – more than any other player in the league. Born and raised in West Monroe, Louisiana – son of Prince Rupert Russell who worked on farms – and Julia, Julia later married into Prince’s clan as sharecroppers – Bill was known by all as one of America’s premier basketball players and earner. Bill was brought up in an economically poor environment. For much of his early life, he picked cotton on his grandparents’ farm; with only two pairs of pants and two shirts to last him all year round, Bill would change between pants and shirts weekly to maintain proper hygiene.

Are You Wondering If Rose Swisher Is Still Alive Today and Where She Is Now?

Rose Swisher passed away on 11 September 2014 in King County, Washington USA at age 78 years.On 31 July 2022 in Mercer Island, King County he died peacefully at age 88 and was interred at Lake View Cemetery in Seattle.

Bill Russell’s First Wife Rose Studied Nursing At College

Rose Katherine Swisher Russell was born to Afro-American parents on 21 July 1936 in Austin, Travis County, Texas – however we know nothing of their lives or identities.As for her education, Swisher attended California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo (Cal Pol), a public university located in San Luis Obispo. Reportedly she studied nursing there.

Rose Swisher Was Both A Model And An Activist

Rose began modeling while still in her youth and soon established herself as one of the first black supermodels of her time. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Swisher worked for Maybelline Cosmetics while appearing on covers such as Ebony Magazine.


Rose Swisher, Bill Russell’s first wife, passed away at age 86 and is survived by their son William as well as daughter Karen Russell who is married to multimillionaire Dikembe Mutombo.

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