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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honor, recognize, & celebrate the men and women of the sea services.

Political Satirist Mark Russell to be Recognized for Service to Country and Community


Prominent Sea Service Veteran to be Recognized for
Service to Country and Community at September18 Dinner Gala

WASHINGTON, D.C. [August 8, 2012] – U.S. Marine Corps veteran and political satirist Mark Russell will be honored for his service to country and community at the United States Navy Memorial’s 2012 Lone Sailor Awards Dinner on Tuesday, September 18.  The black tie gala will be held at The National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Mark Russell, paved the way for stars such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert with his the revolutionary political comedy.  For decades, Russell played off the day’s top news headlines with impeccable timing while accompanying himself on his trademark American flag piano.  He began his show-business career, however, playing the piano at local bars during off duty hours while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and has since entertained various nightclub, convention, television and private audiences around the globe.  Russell is perhaps best known for his live specials on PBS, a 30-year stint in which he expertly blended political stand-up comedy with musical parodies.

Shortly after moving to Alexandria, VA with his family, Russell joined the Marines in 1953 at a recruiting station nearby Washington, D.C.  Upon finishing boot camp and undergoing communications training, he found himself on a ship to join a Marine guard company at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan and later to Hawaii, where he was assigned as a radio operator to the 1st Air/Naval Gunfire Liaison Company. 

"I don't know what it's like now, but the peacetime [Marine] Corps of the 1950s was guided by one driving obsession -- good grooming.  Thinking that my days would be filled with weaponry and dangerous maneuvers, I enlisted, only to spend three years qualifying with the blitz cloth, brass polish, shoe polish, floor wax and starch.  Instead of coming home as John Wayne, I returned as Martha Stewart."

After his discharge in 1956, Russell returned to Washington to begin a legendary career in comedy, music and theatre, which included 30 years on public television as host of the much acclaimed “Mark Russell Comedy Specials”.  He got his start at a small piano bar on Capitol Hill and enjoyed immediate success thanks to his unique ability to find humor in anything, especially the political process. 

Russell has dedicated much of his life to studying the intricacies of Washington with the goal of understanding the big picture.  In addition to his success on camera, Russell has had a syndicated newspaper column and authored his own autobiography, Presenting Mark Russell.  Russell still lives in Washington, DC with his wife Alison.  He is the father of three and the grandfather of seven. 

The Lone Sailor Award is given to Sea Service veterans who have excelled with distinction in their respective civilian careers while exemplifying the Navy core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.  In receiving the Lone Sailor Award, Russell joins an impressive list of men and women who have distinguished themselves by drawing upon their military experience.

The U.S. Navy Memorial will honor three other distinguished veterans at this year’s Lone Sailor Awards Dinner: Navy veteran and entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria, Coast Guard veteran and Founder of J.D. Power & Associates,David Power, and Navy veteran and founder of Alvarez & Associates, Everett Alvarez.

For more information on the U.S. Navy Memorial’s 2012 Lone Sailor Awards Dinner, including sponsorship and ticket prices, or for a list of award recipients, visit the Navy Memorial’s web site at www.navymemorial.org or contact M.C. Dunn, Director, Corporate Relations & Special Events, at 202-380-0728 or mcdunn@navymemorial.org.  To arrange an interview or to access images of the awardees, contact Lisa Pinghera at (703) 417-2705 orlisa@lindarothpr.com.

About the United States Navy Memorial
The U.S. Navy Memorial is the pre-eminent Navy memorial in the country and, through its ceremonies, band concerts, and other public offerings, honors and celebrates the service of Sailors, Marine, Coast Guardsmen, and Merchant Mariners.   For more information on the Navy Memorial, please visit www.navymemorial.org or call (202) 737-2300.