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Franco Zeffirelli, KBE Grande Ufficiale OMRI (Italian: [ˈfraŋko dzeffiˈrɛlli]; born 12 February 1923) is an Italian director and producer of operas, films and television. He is also a former senator (1994–2001) for the Italian centre-right Forza Italia
Forza Italia
party. Some of his operatic designs and productions have become worldwide classics.[1][2][3][4] He is also known for several of the movies he has directed, especially the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. His 1967 version of The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew
with Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
and Richard Burton
Richard Burton
remains the best-known film adaptation of that play as well. His miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977) won acclaim and is still shown on Christmas
Christmas
and Easter
Easter
in many countries. A Grande Ufficiale OMRI of the Italian Republic since 1977, Zeffirelli also received an honorary knighthood from the British government in 2004 when he was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[5] He was awarded the Premio Colosseo in 2009 by the city of Rome.

Contents

1 Early life 2 Career

2.1 Film 2.2 Opera

3 Honours 4 Personal life 5 Selected filmography 6 Bibliography 7 References 8 External links

Early life[edit] Zeffirelli was born Gianfranco Zeffirelli in the outskirts of Florence, Italy. He was the result of an affair between Alaide Garosi, a fashion designer, and Ottorino Corsi, a wool and silk dealer. Since both were married, Alaide was unable to use her surname or Corsi's for her child. She came up with "Zeffiretti" which are the "little breezes" mentioned in Mozart's opera Idomeneo, of which she was quite fond. However, it was misspelled in the register and became Zeffirelli.[6] When he was six years old, his mother died and he subsequently grew up under the auspices of the English expatriate community and was particularly involved with the so-called Scorpioni, who inspired his semi-autobiographical film Tea with Mussolini
Tea with Mussolini
(1999). Italian researchers have found that Zeffirelli is one of a handful of living people traceably consanguineous with Leonardo da Vinci. Zeffirelli is a descendent of one of da Vinci's siblings.[7] Zeffirelli graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze
Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze
in 1941 and, following his father's advice, entered the University of Florence to study art and architecture.[8] After World War II
World War II
broke out, he fought as a partisan, before he met up with British soldiers of the 1st Scots Guards and became their interpreter. After the war, he re-entered the University of Florence
Florence
to continue his studies, but when he saw Laurence Olivier's Henry V in 1945, he directed his attention toward theatre instead. While working for a scenic painter in Florence, he was introduced to and hired by Luchino Visconti, who made him the assistant director for the film La Terra trema, which was released in 1948. Visconti's methods had a deep impact upon Zeffirelli's later work.[9] He also worked with directors such as Vittorio De Sica
Vittorio De Sica
and Roberto Rossellini. In the 1960s, he made his name designing and directing his own plays in London and New York, and soon transferred his ideas to cinema. Career[edit] Film[edit]

Zeffirelli with Olivia Hussey
Olivia Hussey
while filming Romeo and Juliet in 1967

Zeffirelli's first film as director was a version of The Taming of the Shrew (1967), originally intended for Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
and Marcello Mastroianni but finally including the Hollywood stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Richard Burton
instead. Taylor and Burton helped fund production and took a percentage of the profits rather than their normal salaries. While editing The Taming of the Shrew, Zeffirelli's native Florence was devastated by floods. A month later, Zeffirelli released a short documentary, Florence: Days of Destruction, to raise funds for the disaster appeal.[10] Zeffirelli's major breakthrough came the year after when he presented two teenagers as Romeo and Juliet (1968). The movie is still immensely popular and was for many years the standard adaptation of the play shown to students. This movie also made Zeffirelli a household name - no other subsequent work by him had the immediate impact of Romeo and Juliet. After two successful film adaptations of Shakespeare, Zeffirelli went on to religious themes, first with a film about the life of St. Francis of Assisi titled Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
(1972), then his extended mini-series Jesus of Nazareth (1977) with an all-star cast. The latter was a major success in the ratings and has been frequently shown on television in the years since. He moved on to contemporary themes with a remake of the boxing picture The Champ (1979) and the critically panned Endless Love (1981). In the 1980s, he made a series of successful films adapting opera to the screen, with such stars as Plácido Domingo, Teresa Stratas, Juan Pons, and Katia Ricciarelli. He returned to Shakespeare with Hamlet (1990), casting the then–action hero Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson
in the lead role. His 1996 adaptation of the Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë
novel Jane Eyre was a critical success. Zeffirelli frequently cast unknown actors in major roles; however his leads have rarely gone on to stardom or even a sustained acting career. Leonard Whiting (Romeo in Romeo and Juliet), Graham Faulkner (St. Francis in Brother Sun, Sister Moon), and Martin Hewitt (in Endless Love) all left the film business after failing to secure similar high-profile roles. The female leads in those films (Olivia Hussey and Brooke Shields) have attained far greater success in the industry. Opera[edit] Zeffirelli has been a major director of opera productions since the 1950s in Italy and elsewhere in Europe as well as the United States. He began his career in the theatre as assistant to Luchino Visconti. Then he tried his hand at scenography. His first work as a director was buffo operas by Rossini. He became a friend of Maria Callas, and they worked together on a La Traviata
La Traviata
in Dallas, Texas, in 1958. Of particular note is his 1964 Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House
production of Tosca
Tosca
with Maria Callas
Maria Callas
and Tito Gobbi. In the same year, he created Callas' last Norma at the Paris Opera. Zeffirelli also collaborated often with Dame Joan Sutherland, designing and directing her performances of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor
Lucia di Lammermoor
in 1959. He has over the years created several productions for the Metropolitan Opera
Metropolitan Opera
in New York, including La bohème, Tosca, Turandot
Turandot
and Don Giovanni. Honours[edit] In November 2004, he was awarded an honorary knighthood by the United Kingdom.[11] In 1996, for services to the arts, he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Kent
University of Kent
at a graduation ceremony held in Canterbury Cathedral. In 1999, he received the Crystal Globe
Crystal Globe
award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Personal life[edit] In 1996, Zeffirelli came out as gay, but has since preferred to be discreet about his personal life.[12] Zeffirelli considers himself "homosexual" rather than gay, he feels the term "gay" is less elegant.[13] Zeffirelli has adopted two adult sons, men he has worked with for years and who now live with him and manage his affairs.[13] He has received criticism from religious groups for what they call the blasphemous representation of biblical figures in his films and also criticism from members of the gay community for publicly backing the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
with regard to homosexual issues.[14] Director Bruce Robinson
Bruce Robinson
claimed to have been the target of unwanted sexual advances by Zeffirelli during the filming of Romeo and Juliet, in which Robinson played Benvolio. Robinson says that he based the lecherous character of Uncle Monty in the film Withnail and I
Withnail and I
on Zeffirelli.[15] In 2018, actor Johnathon Schaech
Johnathon Schaech
alleged that Zeffirelli sexually assaulted him during the filming of Sparrow.[16] Selected filmography[edit]

La Bohème
La Bohème
(1965; production designer only)[17] Florence: Days of Destruction (1966) (documentary short) The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew
(1967)[17] Romeo and Juliet (1968)[17] Academy Award
Academy Award
nominee, director Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
(1972)[17] Jesus of Nazareth (1977)[17] The Champ (1979)[17] Cavalleria Rusticana
Cavalleria Rusticana
(1978) with Tatiana Troyanos
Tatiana Troyanos
and Plácido Domingo[17] (live Metropolitan Opera
Metropolitan Opera
House – stage director) Pagliacci
Pagliacci
(1978) with Teresa Stratas, Sherrill Milnes
Sherrill Milnes
and Plácido Domingo[17] (live Metropolitan Opera
Metropolitan Opera
House – stage director) Endless Love (1981)[17] Cavalleria Rusticana
Cavalleria Rusticana
(1982) with Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo
and Elena Obraztsova[17] Pagliacci
Pagliacci
(1982) with Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo
and Teresa Stratas[17] La Bohème
La Bohème
(1982)[17] (live Metropolitan Opera
Metropolitan Opera
– stage director) La Traviata
La Traviata
(1983)[17] – Academy Award
Academy Award
nominee, BAFTA winner, art direction; with Teresa Stratas
Teresa Stratas
and Plácido Domingo Tosca
Tosca
(1985),[17] (live Metropolitan Opera
Metropolitan Opera
– stage director) Otello (1986)[17] – British Academy of Film and Television Arts winner, foreign language film; with Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo
and Katia Ricciarelli Young Toscanini
Young Toscanini
(1988)[17] Hamlet (1990)[17] Don Giovanni[17] (live Metropolitan Opera
Metropolitan Opera
– stage director) Don Carlo
Don Carlo
with Luciano Pavarotti
Luciano Pavarotti
and Daniela Dessi[17] (live La Scala – stage director) Storia di una capinera (also known as Sparrow; 1993)[17] with Sheherazade Ventura Jane Eyre (1996)[17] Tea with Mussolini
Tea with Mussolini
(1999)[17] Callas Forever
Callas Forever
(2002)[17]

Bibliography[edit]

Zeffireli, Franco; John Tooley (Interviews by Anna Tims), "How we made: Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
and John Tooley on Tosca
Tosca
(1964)",. The Guardian (London), 23 July 2012 on theguardian.com. Retrieved 11 August 2014

References[edit]

^ "Search". Retrieved 8 January 2017.  ^ "Virtuoso Poignancy Unfettered by Concepts". The New York Times. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2017.  ^ "Teatro alla Scala". Teatro alla Scala. Retrieved 2017-01-08.  ^ Staatsoper, Wiener. "Search". Retrieved 8 January 2017.  ^ BBC News. "UK honour for director Zeffirelli." ^ " Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
Facts". Biography.yourdictionary.com. Retrieved 2017-01-08.  ^ "Leonardo da Vinci's 'living relatives' identified - BBC News". Bbc.com. Retrieved 2017-01-08.  ^ Donadio, Rachel (2009-08-18). "Maestro Still Runs the Show, Grandly". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-18.  ^ " Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2009-08-18.  ^ "Burton Hosts Flood Special
Special
on Channel 33". Gettysburg Times. 31 December 1966. Retrieved 29 December 2012.  ^ "UK honour for director Zeffirelli", BBC News. Accessed 27 May 2008 ^ Barbara McMahon (21 November 2006). "Zeffirelli tells all about priest's sexual assault". The Guardian.  ^ a b "Franco Zeffirelli". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-12-29.  ^ Smith, Patricia Julian (9 January 2005). "Zeffirelli, Franco". glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Archived from the original on 14 August 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2007.  ^ Murphy, Peter. "Interview with Bruce Robinson". Archived from the original on 7 July 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2007.  ^ Schaech, Johnathon (January 11, 2018). "Actor Johnathon Schaech: I Was Molested by Director Franco Zeffirelli". People.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "Franco Zeffirelli Filmography". Allmovie. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Franco Zeffirelli.

Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
on IMDb Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
on Charlie Rose Works by or about Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
in libraries ( WorldCat
WorldCat
catalog) " Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
collected news and commentary". The New York Times.  Italian Senate
Italian Senate
profile Interview: Maria Callas
Maria Callas
and Callas Forever Interview with Zeffirelli from 1999 about Tea With Mussolini

v t e

Films directed by Franco Zeffirelli

The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew
(1967) Romeo and Juliet (1968) Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
(1972) Jesus of Nazareth (1977) The Champ (1979) Endless Love (1981) Pagliacci
Pagliacci
(1982) Cavalleria rusticana (1982) La Traviata
La Traviata
(1983) Otello (1986) Young Toscanini
Young Toscanini
(1988) Hamlet (1990) Sparrow (1993) Jane Eyre (1996) Tea with Mussolini
Tea with Mussolini
(1999) Callas Forever
Callas Forever
(2002)

v t e

David di Donatello
David di Donatello
Award for Best Director

1956–1980

Gianni Franciolini
Gianni Franciolini
(1956) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1957) Alberto Lattuada
Alberto Lattuada
(1959) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1960) Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
(1961) Ermanno Olmi
Ermanno Olmi
(1962) Vittorio De Sica
Vittorio De Sica
(1963) Pietro Germi (1964) Francesco Rosi
Francesco Rosi
/ Vittorio De Sica
Vittorio De Sica
(1965) Alessandro Blasetti / Pietro Germi (1966) Luigi Comencini
Luigi Comencini
(1967) Carlo Lizzani
Carlo Lizzani
(1968) Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
(1969) Gillo Pontecorvo
Gillo Pontecorvo
(1970) Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti
(1971) Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
/ Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone
(1972) Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti
(1973) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1974) Dino Risi
Dino Risi
(1975) Mario Monicelli
Mario Monicelli
/ Francesco Rosi
Francesco Rosi
(1976) Valerio Zurlini / Mario Monicelli
Mario Monicelli
(1977) Ettore Scola
Ettore Scola
(1978) Francesco Rosi
Francesco Rosi
(1979) Gillo Pontecorvo
Gillo Pontecorvo
/ Marco Bellocchio
Marco Bellocchio
(1980)

1981–2000

Francesco Rosi
Francesco Rosi
(1981) Marco Ferreri
Marco Ferreri
(1982) Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
(1983) Ettore Scola
Ettore Scola
(1984) Francesco Rosi
Francesco Rosi
(1985) Mario Monicelli
Mario Monicelli
(1986) Ettore Scola
Ettore Scola
(1987) Bernardo Bertolucci
Bernardo Bertolucci
(1988) Ermanno Olmi
Ermanno Olmi
(1989) Mario Monicelli
Mario Monicelli
(1990) Marco Risi
Marco Risi
/ Ricky Tognazzi
Ricky Tognazzi
(1991) Gianni Amelio
Gianni Amelio
(1992) Roberto Faenza
Roberto Faenza
/ Ricky Tognazzi
Ricky Tognazzi
(1993) Carlo Verdone
Carlo Verdone
(1994) Mario Martone
Mario Martone
(1995) Giuseppe Tornatore
Giuseppe Tornatore
(1996) Francesco Rosi
Francesco Rosi
(1997) Roberto Benigni
Roberto Benigni
(1998) Giuseppe Tornatore
Giuseppe Tornatore
(1999) Silvio Soldini (2000)

2001–present

Gabriele Muccino (2001) Ermanno Olmi
Ermanno Olmi
(2002) Pupi Avati
Pupi Avati
(2003) Marco Tullio Giordana (2004) Paolo Sorrentino
Paolo Sorrentino
(2005) Nanni Moretti
Nanni Moretti
(2006) Giuseppe Tornatore
Giuseppe Tornatore
(2007) Andrea Molaioli (2008) Matteo Garrone
Matteo Garrone
(2009) Marco Bellocchio
Marco Bellocchio
(2010) Daniele Luchetti (2011) Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
(2012) Giuseppe Tornatore
Giuseppe Tornatore
(2013) Paolo Sorrentino
Paolo Sorrentino
(2014) Francesco Munzi (2015) Matteo Garrone
Matteo Garrone
(2016)

v t e

Nastro d'Argento Award for Best Director

Alessandro Blasetti / Vittorio De Sica
Vittorio De Sica
(1946) Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini
(1947) Alberto Lattuada
Alberto Lattuada
/ Giuseppe De Santis (1948) Vittorio De Sica
Vittorio De Sica
(1949) Augusto Genina
Augusto Genina
(1950) Alessandro Blasetti (1951) Renato Castellani
Renato Castellani
(1952) Luigi Zampa
Luigi Zampa
(1953) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1954) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1955) Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
(1956) Pietro Germi (1957) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1958) Pietro Germi (1959) Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini
(1960) Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti
(1961) Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
(1962) Nanni Loy
Nanni Loy
/ Francesco Rosi
Francesco Rosi
(1963) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1964) Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini
(1965) Antonio Pietrangeli
Antonio Pietrangeli
(1966) Gillo Pontecorvo
Gillo Pontecorvo
(1967) Elio Petri (1968) Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
(1969) Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti
(1970) Elio Petri (1971) Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti
(1972) Bernardo Bertolucci
Bernardo Bertolucci
(1973) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1974) Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti
(1975) Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
(1976) Valerio Zurlini (1977) Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
(1978) Ermanno Olmi
Ermanno Olmi
(1979) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1980) Francesco Rosi
Francesco Rosi
(1981) Marco Ferreri
Marco Ferreri
(1982) Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
(1983) Pupi Avati
Pupi Avati
/ Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1984) Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone
(1985) Mario Monicelli
Mario Monicelli
(1986) Ettore Scola
Ettore Scola
(1987) Bernardo Bertolucci
Bernardo Bertolucci
(1988) Ermanno Olmi
Ermanno Olmi
(1989) Pupi Avati
Pupi Avati
(1990) Gianni Amelio
Gianni Amelio
(1991) Gabriele Salvatores
Gabriele Salvatores
(1992) Gianni Amelio
Gianni Amelio
(1993) Nanni Moretti
Nanni Moretti
(1994) Gianni Amelio
Gianni Amelio
(1995) Giuseppe Tornatore
Giuseppe Tornatore
(1996) Maurizio Nichetti (1997) Roberto Benigni
Roberto Benigni
(1998) Giuseppe Tornatore
Giuseppe Tornatore
(1999) Silvio Soldini (2000) Nanni Moretti
Nanni Moretti
(2001) Marco Bellocchio
Marco Bellocchio
(2002) Gabriele Salvatores
Gabriele Salvatores
(2003) Marco Tullio Giordana (2004) Gianni Amelio
Gianni Amelio
(2005) Michele Placido
Michele Placido
(2006) Giuseppe Tornatore
Giuseppe Tornatore
(2007) Paolo Virzì
Paolo Virzì
(2008) Paolo Sorrentino
Paolo Sorrentino
(2009) Paolo Virzì
Paolo Virzì
(2010) Nanni Moretti
Nanni Moretti
(2011) Paolo Sorrentino
Paolo Sorrentino
(2012) Giuseppe Tornatore
Giuseppe Tornatore
(2013) Paolo Virzì
Paolo Virzì
(2014) Paolo Sorrentino
Paolo Sorrentino
(2015) Paolo Virzì
Paolo Virzì
(2016)

Authority control

WorldCat
WorldCat
Identities VIAF: 96459414 LCCN: n80149195 ISNI: 0000 0001 0927 6327 GND: 118812807 SELIBR: 280362 SUDOC: 027203042 BNF: cb11929626s (data) BIBSYS: 90833953 ULAN: 500104537 NLA: 35743924 NDL: 00477691 NKC: js20031124005 ICCU: ITICCUCFIV05466 BNE: XX1724276 RKD: 86245 SN

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