Director Ken Russell passes away aged 84

Michael Winner and Glenda Jackson have paid tribute to the controversial director

British film director Ken Russell has died at the age of 84.

The director, who is most well known for his 1971 film The Devils and for his 1969 epic Women In Love, for which he was nominated for an Oscar, died yesterday (November 27) in hospital after a series of strokes.

His son Alex Verney-Elliott told BBC News that his father had died peacefully, saying: “My father died peacefully, he died with a smile on his face”.

Russell began directing in 1963 and continued to do so up until the early part of the 21st century. He most famously directed Tommy, which featured a soundtrack by The Who and the much loved fantasy film Altered States.

He also made a bizarre appearance on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007, lasting five days in a house that included S Club 7‘s Jo O’Meara, Danielle Lloyd, Jermaine Jackson and the late Jade Goody.

Michael Winner paid tribute to Russell and said that he had made “enormous contribution” to British cinema.

Winner said: “He pushed the barriers completely and got away with it. He made some startling movies. He had an eye for the composition of each image on the screen – a great eye for imagery and then, of course, he had a great idea for the grotesque.”

Actress turned politician Glenda Jackson also paid tribute to Russell, saying that it was “just wonderful to work with him and to work with him as often as I did. He created the kind of climate in which actors could do their job and I loved him dearly”.