Ken Russell people
A Family Affair
Russell's family work with Ken in many films.
Shirley Kingdon / Shirley Russell
"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.
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).
Lisi Tribble / Lisi Russell
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.
Hetty Baynes / Hetty Russell
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.’"
Victoria (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
Vivian Jolly / 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.
Alex and James Russell Xavier 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
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.
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.
"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
Quotes and photo from Pink City Prints website,
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