Motion Picture Director, Screenwriter. Noted for his flamboyance, he challenged the limitations of decency with his often sexually-explicit efforts, notably the feature "Women in Love" (1969), which earned him both Academy Award and BAFTA Award nominations. Born Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell, the son of a shoe store proprietor, he was given a film projector as a child which ignited his fascination with movies. After graduating from Nautical College at Pangbourne, he served with the British Merchant Navy followed by the RAF. His career in entertainment was initiated as a dancer briefly with the Ny Norsk Ballet and later as an actor with the Garrick Players. He studied film at the Walthamstow Technical College and worked as a free-lance still photographer, before making a series of shorts, including "Peepshow" (1956) and "Lourdes" (1958). He landed a job with the BBC and yielded several well-received biographies of composers including Edward Elgar and Richard Strauss. From this, Russell's ingenuity was revealed with his usage of imagery and eye for detail of period setting. He marked his feature debut with "French Dressing" (1964) and followed this with an installment of the Harry Palmer spy series "Billion Dollar Brain" (1967). With "Women in Love", he broke through to international audiences and achieved commercial success. His "The Devils" (1971), which was based on Aldous Huxley's "The Devils of Loudun" was so greatly filled with scenes of strong sexual content, it would be drastically censored before it's theatrical release. Further credits include "The Boyfriend" (1971), which starred supermodel Twiggy, The Who's screen adaptation of their rock opera "Tommy" (1975) and "Lisztomania" (1975). Russell would have a decade-long absence from the cinema, resuming his career during the late 1980s. He died following a series of strokes.
Bio by: C.S.