Franco Zeffirelli, Director of ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ Dies at 96

  • Variety
Franco Zeffirelli, Director of ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ Dies at 96
Franco Zeffirelli, the stylish and sometimes controversial theater, opera and film director, has died. He was 96.

Zeffirelli, who was Oscar-nominated for his 1968 version of “Romeo and Juliet,” died at his home in Rome at noon on Saturday, his son Luciano told the Associated Press. “He had suffered for a while, but he left in a peaceful way,” Luciano said.

While Zeffirelli was fond of making films with literary antecedents such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet,” “Taming of the Shrew” and “Jane Eyre,” his legacy as director of extravagant opera and theater productions is probably more consistent and long-lasting.

He directed, co-wrote and co-produced the 1966 production of “Taming of the Shrew,” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, one of the twice-married celebrated pair’s most successful co-starring assignments. Spirited and amusing, it paved the way for a youthful and sexy “Romeo and Juliet,” which was a major box office success in the U.
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