Rusty Turner was talked into joining the Gridiron cast when it returned from hiatus in 2004 with the promise that he’d only be asked to “sing just one song.” Yeah, right. He’s been in the show ever since, contributing as an actor, singer, writer and stage director. Notice that “dancer” is not mentioned on that list.
Over the years he’s played local luminaries Bill Clinton, Frank Broyles, Houston Nutt, David Gearhart and Nolan Richardson (not all at the same time). He’s also recreated various television and movie characters, including Harry Potter’s Lord Voldemort (aka Volde-Murdoch) and Sesame Street’s Big Bird (don’t ask about the costume). Most recently, he’s spent a lot of time wearing a wild orange wig while portraying Donald Trump. His more memorable roles usually involve song parodies: “Old Man River” as sung by Nolan Richardson; “Call Me Irresponsible” as sung by Trump; “Stormy Weather” as sung by Al Gore; and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” as dissembled by Chris Christie, to name a few.
Rusty is a long-time Northwest Arkansas journalist, having worked as a sportswriter, news reporter and editor at various publications in Benton and Washington counties and Fort Smith. A 1983 graduate of the Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism at the University of Arkansas, he’s currently the editor of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He’s a former member of a Northwest Arkansas men’s singing group Kindred Spirits, which recorded two CDs and performed at the White House in 1999.