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Franco Zeffirelli

Franco Zeffirelli

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: February 12, 1923 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Italy Profession: screenwriter, director, politician, production designer, actor, costume designer, set designer, assistant director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having emerged from his native Italy as one of that country's most revered directors, Franco Zeffirelli's distinctive career reflected his reverence for the classics of music and literature. Nearly all his films were lavish adaptations that utilized lush locations, extravagant sets and sumptuous costumes, which he first put on display in his contemporary-minded rendition of William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" (1967). He vaulted onto the international stage with another adaptation of the Bard's work, "Romeo and Juliet" (1968), which featured inspired casting and a modern thematic take that helped it become a box office smash. After struggling a bit in the next decade, Zeffirelli delivered a stunning and rather reverent examination of "Jesus of Nazareth" (NBC, 1977), and on the big screen directed a remake of the 1931 Jackie Cooper movie, "The Champ" (1979). In the following decade, Zeffirelli focused much of his attention on opera, directing "La Bohème" (1982) and "Don Giovanni" for the stage, and "La Traviata" (1983) for the screen. He went on to turn action star Mel Gibson into a bona fide thespian in his shortened adaptation of "Hamlet" (1990), before tapping into his own life to direct...

Having emerged from his native Italy as one of that country's most revered directors, Franco Zeffirelli's distinctive career reflected his reverence for the classics of music and literature. Nearly all his films were lavish adaptations that utilized lush locations, extravagant sets and sumptuous costumes, which he first put on display in his contemporary-minded rendition of William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" (1967). He vaulted onto the international stage with another adaptation of the Bard's work, "Romeo and Juliet" (1968), which featured inspired casting and a modern thematic take that helped it become a box office smash. After struggling a bit in the next decade, Zeffirelli delivered a stunning and rather reverent examination of "Jesus of Nazareth" (NBC, 1977), and on the big screen directed a remake of the 1931 Jackie Cooper movie, "The Champ" (1979). In the following decade, Zeffirelli focused much of his attention on opera, directing "La Bohème" (1982) and "Don Giovanni" for the stage, and "La Traviata" (1983) for the screen. He went on to turn action star Mel Gibson into a bona fide thespian in his shortened adaptation of "Hamlet" (1990), before tapping into his own life to direct the semi-autobiographical "Tea with Mussolini" (1999), which earned the highest praise of his career. Though his films were filled with detail that sometimes tended to overwhelm, Zeffielli nonetheless remained a daring filmmaker unafraid to pursue risky projects in an otherwise predictable commercial market.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Callas Forever (2003) Director
2.
  Tea With Mussolini (1999) Director
3.
  Jane Eyre (1996) Director
4.
  Sparrow (1993) Director
5.
  Hamlet (1990) Director
6.
  Il Giovane Toscanini (1988) Director
7.
  Otello (1986) Director
8.
  Traviata, La (1983) Director
9.
  Endless Love (1981) Director
10.
  The Champ (1979) Director

CAST: (feature film)

6.
 Callas (1979) Narration
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Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as radio actor in Florence and Rome
1947:
Acted in Luigi Zampa's feature "L'Onorevole Angelina"
:
Assistant to Luchino Visconti
1949:
First professional stage design for Visconti's production of "Troilus and Cressida"
1957:
Feature film directing debut, "Camping"
1966:
Made documentary on Florence floods, "Florence: Days of Destruction"; narration by Richard Burton
1967:
Co-produced, co-wrote and directed English language film adaptation, "The Taming of the Shrew"
1968:
Had international hit with his filming of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"
1977:
Directed the TV miniseries, "Jesus of Nazareth"
1979:
Helmed the remake of "The Champ"
1983:
Recreated his staging of "La Traviata" as a film; also served as production designer
1990:
Put Mel Gibson through the paces as Shakespeare's "Hamlet"
1994:
Elected to a seat in Italy's senate
1996:
Returned to features directing an adaptation of "Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre'"
1999:
Directed the autobiographical feature "Tea With Mussolini"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Accademia di Belle Arti: -
Florence University: - 1941 - 1946

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