- Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli famed for directing operas, films and television has died in Rome at the age of 96.
The Academy Award Nominee and recipient of an honorary British knighthood passed away peacefully at noon today June 15th in his home, his son Luciano said. Involved in around 20 films and more than 30 plays and operas, the two-time Oscar nominee is most famed for his 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet alongside other films including Tea with Mussolini (1999) and Jesus of Nazareth (1977). Announcing the death, 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.’ Zeffirelli delighted audiences around the world with his romantic vision and often extravagant productions, most famously captured in his cinematic rendering of Romeo and Juliet.