name = Franco Zeffirelli
birthdate = birth date and age|1923|2|12
Florence, Tuscany, Italy
birthname = Gianfranco Corsi
baftaawards = Best Production Design
1983 "La Traviata"
Internationally, he is known for having directed the 1968 film version of
Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" for which he was nominated to receive an Academy Award. His 1977 television mini-series "Jesus of Nazareth" also won acclaim and is still shown on Easterweekend in many countries.
Zeffirelli was born and grew up in
Florence, under the auspices of the British expatriate community and was particularly involved with the so-called Scorpioni who inspired his semi-autobiographical 1999 film " Tea With Mussolini".
World War II, he fought as a partisan before he met up with the British soldiers of the 1st Scots Guards and became their interpreter. In the post war years, he studied art and architecture at the University of Florence, and worked with directors such as Vittorio De Sica, Roberto Rosselliniand Luchino Visconti.
In the 1960s, he made his name designing and directing his own plays in
Londonand New York, and soon transferred his ideas to cinema.
Zeffirelli has also been a major director of opera productions since the 1950s in
Italy, Europe, and the U.S.. Of particular note is his 1964 Royal Opera Houseproduction of " Tosca" with Maria Callasand Tito Gobbi, and several productions for the Metropolitan Operain New York, including " La bohème" and " Turandot". Also of note is his set design for Madama Butterfly in the fall of 1985 for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In November 2004 he was awarded an honorary knighthood by the United Kingdom. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4037897.stm|"UK honour for director Zeffirelli"] , BBC News. Accessed
May 27, 2008] In 1999 he received the Crystal Globeaward for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Zeffirelli is openly gay.cite web
first =Patricia Juliana
title =Zeffirelli, Franco
publisher =glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,Transgender, and Queer Culture
accessdate =2007-08-07 ] 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 Churchwith regard to homosexualissues. Director Bruce Robinsonclaimed to have been the target of unwanted sexual advances by Zeffirelli during the filming of "Romeo and Juliet" in which Robinson had a minor acting role. Robinson says that he based the lecherous character of Uncle Monty in the film " Withnail and I" on Zeffirelli. [cite web
title =Interview with Bruce Robinson
accessdate =2007-08-07 [ ] ]
In 2007, disappointed with the manner in which
Pope Benedict XVIhad been presenting himself to the media, Zeffirelli openly offered his services to the Pontiff as an image consultant. In connection with this matter, he was quoted as saying "I am a Christian down to the depths of my spirit."cite web | last=Aliosi |first=Silvia | title=Film-maker Zeffirelli vows to help Pope with image |url = http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL1538232220071215?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&rpc=22&sp=true | date = 2007-12-15 | accessdate=2007-12-15]
Zeffirelli has also been a member of the Italian senate since 1996, representing the conservative
* "La bohème" (1965)
* "The Taming of the Shrew" (1967)
* "Romeo and Juliet" (1968) Academy Award nominee, director
Brother Sun, Sister Moon" (1972)
* "Jesus of Nazareth" (1977)
* "The Champ" (1979)
* "Endless Love" (1981)
* "Cavalleria Rusticana" (1982) with
Plácido Domingoand Elena Obraztsova
* "Pagliacci" (1982) with
Plácido Domingoand Teresa Stratas
* "La Traviata" (1983) — Academy Award nominee, BAFTA winner, art direction; with
Teresa Stratasand Plácido Domingo
La bohème" (1982)
* "Tosca" (1985), a live Metropolitan Opera production
* "Otello" (1986) — BAFTA winner, foreign language film; with
Plácido Domingoand Katia Ricciarelli
* "Hamlet" (1990)
* "Don Giovanni" ( A television Metropolitan Opera production)
Storia di una capinera" also known as "Sparrow" (1993) with Sheherazade Ventura
Il tabarro(Puccini)" (1994)
* "Jane Eyre" (1996)
Tea With Mussolini" (1999)
Callas Forever" (2002)
* [http://www.keithbush.com/article_zeffirelli.htm] Interview: Maria Callas and "Callas Forever"
* [http://www.tipjar.com/dan/zeffirelli.htm Interview with Zeffirelli from 1999 about Tea With Mussolini]
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