Ken Russell, according to the New York Daily News, is dead after suffering a series of strokes in recent years. Russell was an Academy Award-winning British director who was lauded for adapting D.H. Lawrence’s “Women in Love” for the big screen and for the 1967 Michael Caine-fronted “Billion Dollar Brain.”
But he’s best-remembered for directing the 1975 Who rock opera “Tommy,” in which lead singer Roger Daltrey played a “deaf, dumb and blind kid” who played a “mean pinball.” Ann-Margret scored a best actress nomination for her role as Tommy’s mother — in perhaps the first and last instance of an best actress nominee whose performance included writhing around in chocolate and beans.
The late Oliver Reed (“Gladiator”) also co-starred as Tommy’s exploitative stepfather while the film’s cameo appearances included Tina Turner, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Jack Nicholson.
Russell went on to direct several more provocative movies, including 1980’s “Altered States,” 1986’s “Gothic” and 1988’s “Lair of the White Worm.”
And, just for good measure, the Ann-Margret bean/chocolate scene: