"Tommy" Director Ken Russell Dies at 84

The controversial British filmmaker passed away while being treated for multiple strokes

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    TK
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    Eccentric director Ken Russell, who directed The Who's "Tommy" in 1975, has died.

    British director Ken Russell, known for his envelope-pushing and controversial films, has died at the age of 84.

    The news of his passing was reported by his son, Alex Verney-Elliot, who confirms Russell died in the hospital while being treated for a series of strokes.

    Russell's best known films are 1975's "Tommy," where he brought The Who's surreal rock opera to life, the William Hurt-starring sci-fi cult classic "Altered States," the 1991 gritty drama "Whore" (which was one of the earliest films to be branded NC-17), the campy thriller "The Lair of the White Worm," and his Oscar-nominated 1969 film "Women in Love."

    He also wrote two autobiographies, and a series of novels based on the sex lives of famous composers, such as "Beethoven Confidential," "Brahms Gets Laid," and "Elgar: The Erotic Variations." 

    Russell was born in Southhampton, England in 1927 and was a member of the Merchant Navy as a teenager before dedicating his life to writing and filmmaking.

    Selected Reading: MSNBC, BBC News, New York Times