He worked at FOX matte department  under  Fred.Sersen.  He and Jack Cosgrove teamed at the beginning of the Thirties and established their headquarters at Universal, but they worked also for other companies. They did mattes for BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE BLACK CAT and TOWER OF LONDON. They worked together also when Jack Cosgrove run the Special Effects Department for Selznick Intl.
From the Forties Lawson worked alone as matte department head for Universal and later Universal-International and was responsible for the work in the remarkable Technicolor remake of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943). He left the department in 1961 and was succeed by Albert Whitlock.
Lawson did mattes for the one of the first catastrophic movies of the Thirties, DELUGE (1933).

- Taras Bulba (1962) (photographic effects) (as Russ Lawson)
- Dressed to kill (1946) (matte artist)
- Phamtom of the Opera(1943) (matte artist)
- Tower of London (1939) (matte effects)
- Blockade (1938) (special effects)
- Black Cat, The (1934) (matte artist) (uncredited)
- Deluge (1933) (matte artist)

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