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Ken Russell people

A Family Affair

Russell's family work with Ken in many films.

Shirley Kingdon / Shirley Russell

Shirley Russell as Charlotte Bronte

"Ken shot the movies, she dressed his stars in a variety of weird and wonderful outfits" (Vera Rule, 22 Mar 2002, The Guardian)

Russell's first wife who provided the costumes for his major films. Born Shirley Kingdon, she met Russell while they were both students at the School of Art Walthamstow, he was studying photography and she was in the fashion department. When he worked a photographer she helped on his early photo-films (as Charlotte Bronte above) and then on the amateur films Amelia (costumes) and Peepshow where she plays the marionette. She was costume designer on Russell's most famous work including the television films Isadora, Dante, Song of Summer and all the cinema films up to Valentino when the marriage broke up.  Below with Nureyev on the set of Valentino (from an interview with Gordon Gow in Films and Filming, Oct 1977).  Together she and Ken Russell had five children Xavier, James, Alex, Victoria and Toby.

Shirley Russell Rudolf Nuryev

She since worked on Boorman´s Hope and Glory (in which Sammi Davis also appears), Beatty's Reds and with Charles Sturridge (one of the Aria directors) on Gulliver's Travels, FairyTale and Longitude.  She died in 2002.

Claire Smith says "She was imaginative and inventive, and was responsible for adding what she termed the 'roughness of texture' to Ken Russell's films (from The Costumes in notes to DVD of The Music Lovers).

 Shirley Russell

Lisi Tribble / Lisi  Russell

Ken Russell The Fall of the Louse of Usher

Ken Russell's wife from 2001 to his death in 2011.  She acts in The Fall of the Louse of Usher (Madeline Usher, the Egyptian mummy etc), also singing and writing lyrics for the second Elgar film.

Liisi Russell

Hetty Baynes / Hetty Russell

 Hetty Baynes

Ken Russell's third wife from 1992-1999.  She and Ken had one son, Rex.  She acts in The Insatiable Mrs Kirsch (one of the Tales of Erotica), Lady Chatterley, The Secret Life of Sir Arnold Bax, Classic Widows, Treasure Island (above) and Mindbender (below).  Other work includes Privateer 2 and Agatha Christie's Seven Dials Mystery, Red Dwarf as well as the BBC´s radio soap Citizens.

Her biography on The Jeffrey Eisen Podcast site (here) includes: Hetty co-wrote with Ken on several projects including The Insatiable Mrs. Kirsch, Treasure Island [the credits of the film state “written and directed by Ken Russell], Mindbender [the credits state writers Ken Russell and Yael Stern-O'Dwyer] and Alice in Russia Land.

In an interview for the Daily Mail (Kathryn Knight, 7 Dec 2011) Haynes says: ‘He swept me off my feet really, despite the age gap. He was incredibly attractive, funny and charismatic; I’m putty for a slightly mad genius.’

The ceremony was performed by a spiritualist, and Hetty danced down the aisle towards her groom as a string quartet played I Love You Porgy from the musical Porgy And Bess. The thought of that day still makes her misty-eyed.’[Ken] had a fierce temper. ‘Anything could set him off,’ Hetty says. ‘Noise, mess, something as simple as a child’s toy left on the floor. He was very particular, especially where work was concerned.

And he was, Hetty maintains, a loving father. ‘Ken saw his son every fortnight for a weekend. Rex would go down to see him in the New Forest and they’d go fishing together and watch films.’"

Hetty Baynes in Ken Russel's Mindbender

Victoria (Vicki) Russell

Vicki Russell

Ken Russell's daughter. As a child/ teenager she appeared as herself in A British Picture, and in roles in Tommy (Sally Simpson) and Crimes of Passion as well as earlier in The Music Lovers and Isadora (below, with mother Shirley). She developed to costume designer for Gothic and some of Russell's television work including A British Picture and the Bax and Bruckner films. She used to go out with Bryan Adams, having met him on the Run to You video. Ken directed his Diana video. She appears in his photography book Haven. She has worked for the BBC. Her website is www.vicki-russell.com..

Shirley Russell and daughter Victoria Russell in Ken Russell's Isadora

Vivian Jolly / Vivian Russell

Vivian Russell

Ken Russell's second wife, Vivian Jolly pictured with children Molly and Rupert. They were married from 1983-1991.  She appears as herself in A British Picture along with her children Molly and Rupert Russell. Victoria co-wrote with Ken both The Rainbow and Salome's Last Dance.  She is also author of Monet's Water Lilies and photographer of The Gardens and Parks at Hampton Court Palace and also writes on Gardening.  Family photo from Hello! magazine, 25 Nov 1989.  Image below from book cover.

Vivian Russell Monet's Water Lilies

Alex and James Russell Alex Russell and James Russell Xavier and Toby Russell Xavier Russell and Toby Russell

Ken Russell's children in Savage Messiah. For more on Xavier and for Alex see below. Note Toby's sailor suit which appears in many of Ken's films.

Alex Russell / Alex Alien / Alexander Verney-Elliott

Alex Russelll Alex Alien in Lions Mouth

Alex Alien, son of Ken Russell and Shirley Russell. As a child he appeared in much of Ken's work (as Alexander Russell) including Isadora, Billion Dollar Brain, Women in Love, The Music Lovers (as Von Meck's son), The Devils, Tommy, Savage Messiah, Valentino and Mahler. He was involved in The Lion's Mouth (above) and The Fall of the Louse of Usher.  The image below is from the Net Worth site here.

You can read an interview with Alex by Iain Fisher here.

Alex Alien Russell

Xavier Russell

Ken Russell´s son. Editor of many of Russell´s later work including A British Picture, Arnold Bax, Mrs Kirsch, Mindbender, Classic Widows and Dogboys. His other editing credits include Killing Eve, and Doctor Who.  He used to write for the magazine Kerrang. As a child he appeared in The Music Lovers and Isadora.  I spoke to him at Ken's Viking funeral, a friendly knowledgeable person.  Image from Xavier's website www.xavierrussell.com.

Xavier Russell

Molly Russell

Ken and Vivian Russell's daughter.  As a child she appeared in Ken's films, notably as the young Molly in The Rainbow.  She has occasionally appeared in episodes of television series, such as Sex and the City and Law and Order.

Molly Russell - Pink City Prints - Ken Russell

"Glasgow School of Art graduate Molly Russell founded Pink City Prints whilst living in Jaipur, spending days drawing inspiration from her surroundings and working alongside the craft communities. It was here that she became committed to supporting the artisans responsible for creating our pieces and preserving their craft processes.

“India has such an immensely rich culture of craft forms I’m constantly finding new processes to work with. It’s so inspirational, my senses are alive and I find beauty everywhere but craft is dying out, we must do all we can to use and promote them."

Quotes and photo from Pink City Prints website, click here.

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