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Who is Dorothy Anstett, Bill Russell's second wife?

Joshua Rogers August 1, 2022
Who is Dorothy Anstett,  Bill Russell's second wife?
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Find out more about Dorothy Anstett, the second wife of Bill Russell after the former Celtics legend passed away aged 88.

Legendary NBA star Bill Russell died on Sunday, July 29 aged 88. Russell won 11 championships with the Boston Celtics, including eight straight from 1959 to 1966. He was also a five-time NBA MVP and a 12-time All-Star.

As coach for the Celtics, he led Boston to two titles, becoming the first black head coach to win an NBA championship.

Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Turner Sports

Bill Russell’s family confirm his death in statement

Bill Russell’s family announced on Sunday he had passed away peacefully with wife Jeannine by his side. His family released the following statement: “It is with a heavy heart we would like to pass along to all of Bill’s friends, fans and followers [that] Bill Russell, the most prolific winner in American sports history, passed away peacefully today aged 88, with his wife, Jeannine, by his side. Arrangements for his memorial will be announced soon.”

As well as acknowledging his incredible basketball achievements, the family paid tribute to Bill’s incredible work off the court.

“But for all the winning, Bill’s understanding of the struggle is what illuminated his life,” the statement read. “From boycotting a 1961 exhibition game to unmask too-long-tolerated discrimination, to leading Mississippi’s first integrated basketball camp in the combustible wake of Medgar Evans’ assassination, to decades of activism ultimately recognized by his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.

“Bill called out injustice with an unforgiving candor that he intended would disrupt the status quo, and with a powerful example that, though never his humble intention, will forever inspire teamwork, selflessness and thoughtful change.”

Read the full statement below:

Who is Dorothy Anstett, Bill Russell’s second wife?

The Celtics legend had an incredible life on and off the court. He was married four times in his life, with Bill Russell’s second wife being Dorothy Anstett.

Dorothy Catherine Anstett was born on June 28, 1947, and was one of nine children of an aircraft plant worker. She attended the University of Washington where she majored in English but later found fame as a beauty queen and pageant titleholder.

Original Caption

Anstett competed in the Miss Washington pageant in 1967, finishing in second place. She went on to win the Miss Washington USA 1968 crown title. Later that year she won Miss USA 1968 while studying at Washington. She represented the USA at Miss Universe 1968 in July, where she placed fourth runner-up.

She married Bill Russell in 1977. However, they separated three years later in 1980. Bill and Dorothy had no children together. 

Dorothy is reportedly still alive and well at the age of 75, although she has kept out of the spotlight for a number of years.

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.