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Entertainment Weekly


Franco Zeffirelli, Oscar-nominated director of Romeo and Juliet, dies at 96

Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

Posted on

Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli has died at the age of 96, according the The New York Times. His death was confirmed by a spokesman for the Franco Zeffirelli Foundation in Florence.

Zeffirelli was best known for his 1968 adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which starred Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, and earned the filmmaker a Best Director Academy Award nomination. Zeffirelli secured a second Oscar nomination, this time in the category of Best Production Design, for his 1983 film, La Traviata.

The filmmaker’s other directing credits included 1967’s Elizabeth Taylor- and Richard Burton-starring The Taming of The Shrew, the 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth, 1981’s Endless Love with Brooke Shields, and his 1990 adaptation of Hamlet, which starred Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Ian Holm, and Helena Bonham Carter.

In 2018, actor Johnathon Schaech (That Thing You Do!) accused Zeffirelli of harassing and sexually abused him during the shoot for the 1993 film Sparrow.

Zeffirelli passed away Saturday at his home in Rome.