Tim and the Russ family - my personal view
What is Tim like as a person? In my opinion and I've seen him so often now that I stopped counting and I have talked to him a lot he is both, totally different from his character Tuvok, yet very much like the Vulcan. He is very warm, friendly and extremely patient. No matter how many questions I have, I will get an answer and a serious, profound, sometimes even exhaustive one. He will always make the time to discuss his work. He does have a great sense of humor and a great way of delivering punch-lines he never fails to make me laugh, though by now I know most of his jokes. He is equally talented as an actor, director, musician and writer/producer and always surprises me with a wealth of creative ideas. He really loves his music and when he is on stage with his guitar, playing and singing, he lives the music. In those moments he is so energetic, so full of life, you would not think he is the same person that played that stoic, composed Vulcan Tuvok.
Tim said once that even at a convention the audience wants to be entertained which is why he always prepares a little program for his talks. He usually sings 1 or 2 songs (which also has the additional advantage of promoting his CDs), has a few stories he can tell the audience should there not be enough questions, and has written several sketches that he performs with volunteers from the audience (which is a whole lot of fun to do! I know, because I've done it, not once, but twice!).
If you see him on stage especially during a musical performance you probably think he is very extroverted. He isn't really. He is a very private person and much more comfortable at smaller events. Large crowds are not really his thing. He may therefore be a bit more reserved and less outgoing than others in the autograph line, and it may take a bit of an effort from your side to make him warm up to you and actually talk (as opposed to just smiling at you and maybe saying hi!). But he is worth that effort. He is very appreciative of support and/or help of any kind and has always treated me more like a friend than a fan. He wants his privacy respected, though, and probably wouldn't be too thrilled if you ran into him at the local grocer's store where he gets himself a can of Coke and tried to stop him for a lengthy conversation. But then, who would? Tim is very interested in feedback on his work, though, and despite his obvious talent very modest about his achievements. I don't think he has changed a bit since the beginning of Voyager and his sudden stardom. He is still a very normal, down-to-earth and very decent guy. As George Takei once said: "I enjoyed working with Tim. He's a genuinely nice man and a very good actor." (Starlog Press, Star Trek Voyager Magazine #9).
Tim is very close to his family. His two younger siblings (sister Angela and brother Michael) used to run his fanclub. His sister Angela also used to be in charge of the official Tim Russ-webpage (http://www.timrusswebpage.net) and the mailing list that keeps fans informed, and both, she and brother Mike and/or mother Jo (short for Josephine) accompany him to most conventions and help him sell his pictures and CDs there. It is really good to see how much his family tries to help Tim and to promote him as best they can and also to see that they are the ones he trusts and relies on.
The Russ family is a very close-knit one and they stick together and are there for each other. I could be wrong, but my theory is that this has something to do with the fact that father Walt Russ (a picture of Tim and his father can be seen near the bottom of this page) is a retired Air Force Colonel and had to travel a lot being reassigned to new posts quite often. He always took his family with him, so Tim and his siblings grew up in lots of exotic places all around the world (check here for details). I once counted the number of places the family has lived in from Tim's birth (on June 22, 1956) till the moment he left home for college and I figured out that they must have moved to a different city (and often country) at an average of every 2 years. Can you imagine the impact this would have on kids or teenagers? New place, new neighborhood, new school, new teachers, new schoolmates every other year, maybe people around you speaking a language you don't understand - wouldn't you, too, consider your parents and siblings to be the one constant in your life, that's always there and never changes? I'm sure I would. And I think this is one of the reasons why the Russ family is so close. The other one being that they are all very deep and warm and genuinely nice and caring people and just love each other a lot. I have met everybody except for Tim's father, all of them repeatedly, and I love them all. Little did I know in 1995 when I decided that Tim was somebody worth of support that I'd end up adopting an entire family into my heart but that's exactly what happened. Each and every member of "the Russ clan" as some convention promoters call them on occasion, has their place in my heart.
In addition to Tim's parents and his siblings (with their families), Tim's own little family deserves special mention. He and his girlfriend Jedda Roskilly, who is also his co-worker in some of his more recent projects (most notably "Bugsters!") have an adorable little daughter, Madison, affectionately called Maddy, who was born in March 1999 and is Tim's pride and joy. He is a very devoted, loving father to his little girl and the two obviously share a very special bond.
The depth of Tim's affection for his family, especially the female members of it, is showcased in Tim's own song "Kushangaza", which is also the title song of his third CD and dedicated to the women in his world. Each of them (mother, lover, sister, daughter) gets a verse of her own, which in my opinion, and I have met all four ladies, describes them really well and does them justice. It's Tim's way of thanking them for their continued support and of telling them how much he loves them, since "without [their] touch it's so cold inside."