Franco Zeffirelli, the 1968 “Romeo And Juliet” film director dies at 96

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The legendary Italian film director, Franco Zeffirelli, known for directing operas, films and television has died in Rome at the age of 96.  He reportedly died of pnuemonia contracted about two weeks ago.

In this April 10, 1987 file photo, Franco Zefferelli, producer and set designer of the Puccini opera “Turandot”, escorts Liz Taylor to her limousine after the performance.

Zeffirelli, a two-time Oscar nominee for his 1968 adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” and a recipient of an honorary British knighthood, died at his home on Saturday afternoon, June 15th.

During his time, Zeffirelli produced more than 30 plays and operas and about 20 films, including Tea with Mussolini (1999) and Jesus of Nazareth (1977).

His film “The Taming of the Shrew,” produced in 1967 and starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, endures as one of the 20th century’s most celebrated retellings of a Shakespearean comedy.

Franco Zeffirelli directing Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting in his film version of Romeo and Juliet.

His romantic vision and often extravagant productions, notably captured in his cinematic rendering of Romeo and Juliet, delighted people around the world.

Announcing the death, his son Luciano said:

‘He had suffered for a while, but he left in a peaceful way.’ The Mayor of Florence, his birthplace, Dario Nardella, paid tribute to the director saying ‘I never wanted this day to come’. Franco Zeffirelli departed this morning. One of the greatest men in the world of culture’, he said on Twitter. We join in the grief of his loved ones. Goodbye, dear Master, Florence will never forget you.’

Legendary Italian director Franco Zeffirelli dies at 96.
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