'Tommy' Director Ken Russell Dead At 84

Ken Russell

Controversial British director Ken Russell - best known for the 1975 film “Tommy” – died on Sunday at the age of 84.

Russell’s biggest commercial success was his trippy adaptation of The Who’s rock opera, starring Roger Daltrey as the title character. The film also featured Eric Clapton, Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner and Elton John. But there’s much more to Russell’s long and fascinating career than “Tommy.” Here are five facts worth noting.

1. Russell trained as a ballet dancer before working in film.

2. In the 1960’s he made a series of documentaries about classical music composers for the BBC.

3. His 1971 film “The Devils” was heavily censored – and banned outright in many places – for pairing religious imagery with sex and violence.

4. He directed a young Hugh Grant in the 1988 horror flick “The Lair of the White Worm.”

5. In 2007, Russell appeared in the 5th season of “Celebrity Big Brother.” He left the house voluntarily after arguing with his (now deceased) housemate, Jade Goody.

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