Director Ken Russell, 84, Has Died

By Eric Eisenberg 2011-11-28 19:20:23discussion comments
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British director Ken Russell has died in his sleep at the age of 84. Married four times, Russell is survived by Elize Tribble, whom he married in 2001, and his six children.

After starting his career in the mid-1950s with various shorts and television projects, he made his feature debut with 1964 comedy French Dressing, which starred James Booth, Roy Kinnear and Marisa Mell. Spending his career as a director, producer, writer and even an actor, Russell was best known for films like Altered States, Tommy (based on The Who rock opera) and Women in Love, which earned him his one and only Academy Award nomination (the same can be said for the Golden Globes). In 1974 Russell brought Mahler, a biopic about composer Gustav Mahler, to the Cannes Film Festival and was both nominated for the Palme d'Or and won the Technical Grand Prize. Though he had some success with awards and developed a fan base, critics were decidedly split on his films. Due to the nature and content of his movies, they were rarely financially successful.

Russell continued to be active through the last decade of his life. His final feature film, the fantasy/horror/comedy The Fall of the Louse of Usher: A Gothic Tale for the 21st Century, was released in 2002, but he also wrote and directed the short film Revenge of the Elephant Man in 2004 (which he co-starred in with his wife) and filmed a segment called The Girl With Golden Breasts for the horror anthology Trapped Ashes.

What were some of your favorite Ken Russell films? What do you remember most about his work? Leave your thoughts and best wishes in the comments section below.
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