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'Romeo and Juliet' filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli dead at 96

By
Karen Butler
Filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli died Saturday at the age of 96. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI
Filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli died Saturday at the age of 96. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

June 15 (UPI) -- Oscar-winning, Romeo and Juliet filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli has died at the age of 96.

His son Pippa told The Hollywood Reporter Zeffirelli died at home in Rome "without suffering" on Saturday.

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CNN quoted the director's spokeswoman Loretta Formicone as saying the director had been battling pneumonia for about two weeks before his death.

In addition to adapting William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for the big screen, Zeffirelli also made hit movies out of Shakespeare's plays The Taming of the Shrew and Hamlet.

His other film credits include the films The Champ, Endless Love, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Jane Eyre, Tea with Mussolini and Callas Forever, as well as the TV miniseries Jesus of Nazareth.

Zeffirelli helmed the operatic films La Traviata and Otello, starring Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, and also staged many beloved operas at high-profile venues such as the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and La Scala in Milan.

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