Famed filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli dies

Oscar-nominated director Franco Zeffirelli has died at the age of 96.
The Italian star passed away at his home in Rome on Saturday (15Jun19) after a battle with pneumonia.
“He had suffered for a while, but he left in a peaceful way,” Zeffirelli’s son, Luciano, told America’s CBS News.
Born Gianfranco Zeffirelli, he began his adult life as an architect, but was inspired to pursue a career in entertainment after watching Laurence Olivier’s 1944 adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Henry V.
He enjoyed some early work as an actor and set designer, before he was taken under the wing of director Luchino Visconti, who instilled his love of opera in the young Zeffirelli.
He went on to stage more than 120 opera productions during his lifetime, including Placido Domingo’s La Traviata and Otello in the 1980s, while also taking charge of notable films like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s 1967 version of The Taming of the Shrew, and 1968 hit Romeo and Juliet, starring Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director.
Zeffirelli later reunited with Hussey for 1977 TV mini-series Jesus of Nazareth, in which the actress portrayed the Virgin Mary.
His love of Shakespeare’s works also led him to work with Mel Gibson in Hamlet, which was released in 1990.
His other movie credits include Jon Voight’s The Champ in 1979, and Endless Love, which marked Tom Cruise’s big screen debut in 1981.