Russel Westover was born in Los Angeles, and educated at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco. He started his career in 1904, when he got a job at the San Francisco Bulletin as a sports cartoonist. During his time with this paper, he also produced work for the Chronicle, Post and Oakland Herald. His first comic strip, about the baseball player 'Daffy Dan', was published in the San Francisco Post.
After a few years he moved to New York, where he got a job at the New York Herald. There, he created his first nationally syndicated comic, 'Snapshot Bill', in 1914. Other early Westover creations were 'Ginger Pop', 'Fat Chance', 'Looie and His Tin Lizzie' and 'The Demon Demonstrator'. Between 1918 and 1921, he also worked as an illustrator for Life and Judge.
After Westover left the Herald, he created his most famous comic, 'Tillie the Toiler', and sold it to King Features Syndicate. In 1921, this working-girl strip made its debut in the daily and Sunday editions of several Hearst newspapers. The series was a huge success, and a film was made by Hearst's Cosmopolitan Pictures in 1927. In 1926, he added another strip to his Sunday page - 'The Van Swaggers'. Westover kept drawing both strips until his retirement in the early 1950s. 'Tillie the Toiler' was continued by Bob Gustafson until 1959. Russ Westover died in 1966, at the age of 80.