ENTERTAINMENT

Ken Russell, Women In Love Director, Dies Aged 84

28/11/2011 10:01 GMT | Updated 28/11/2011 12:29 GMT

Women In Love director Ken Russell has died aged 84.

Russell, whose work also includes The Devils and Tommy, is believed to have died peacefully in his sleep yesterday.

The news was broken by novelist and broadcaster Norman Lebrecht on the Arts Journal blog.

He wrote:

A member of the family has just informed me that the film director Ken Russell died yesterday afternoon, peacefully in his sleep...

Ken made his name with a series of films and fantasies about great composers: Elgar, Delius, Mahler, Liszt and more.

He went on to make feature films - Women in Love (1969), The Devils (1971) and Tommy (1975), always with an assertive music component and an uncomplicated narrative line.

Among many achievement that spring to mind, he made British cinema less insular and self-concerned.

He will be widely mourned.

Russell's 1969 adaptation of DH Lawrence's Women in Love earned him an Oscar nomination for 'Best Director' and won its star Glenda Jackson a 'Best Actress' Academy Award.

However, his films often courted controversy. His 1971 film The Devils featured an infamous scene between Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave sexualising the crucifixion, it was initially rejected by Warner Brothers but will finally be released in its entirety on March 19 2012 on DVD, when it will also form part of the BFI's centenary celebrations.

In 2007 Russell took part in Celebrity Big Brother but left the reality show after four days following arguments with fellow contestant Jade Goody.

The larger than life character is survived by his wife Lisi Tribble and five children from his first marriage to Shirley Russell.

SLIDESHOW: The best of Ken Russell...

The Best Of Ken Russell