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Can You Hear Me? Flamboyant, Controversial, Over-the-Top Movie Director — Whose Oeuvre Includes Breakthrough 1969 Film — Dead at 84

Nov 28, 2011  •  Post A Comment

One of the most controversial filmmakers of the past 40 years has died, according to reports from the BBC and The Hollywood Reporter.

Ken Russell, best known for the Oscar-winning 1969 film "Women In Love" and for offbeat musicals including “Tommy” (1975) and “Lisztomania” (1975), died this morning in London at the age of 84.

Russell’s prolific career included many programs for the BBC, including 33 drama-documentaries. One of the most famous was "Song of Summer," about composer Frederick Delius. In 1970, "Dance of the Seven Veils" created an outrage for its depiction of composer Richard Strauss as a Nazi.

He made a successful jump to features, with his version of D. H. Lawrence’s controversial novel "Women In Love" attracting four Oscar nominations, including a best director nod for Russell, and earning the Academy Award for star Glenda Jackson.

A string of noteworthy movies followed, with many known for pushing boundaries and sparking controversies.

His musical "The Boy Friend" (1971), with Twiggy, was deemed sublime and earned the model two Golden Globes.

Other well-known films directed by Russell included “Altered States” (1980), “Gothic” (1986), “The Lair of the White Worm” (1988) and “Whore” (1991).

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Ken Russell

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