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Franco Zeffirelli, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Director, Dies at 96

Franco Zeffirelli, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Director, Dies at 96

Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, a two-time Oscar nominee best known for his 1968 big-screen version of “Romeo and Juliet,” died on Saturday at age 96.

Zeffirelli’s son Luciano told the Associated Press that his father died at home in Rome.

He earned two Oscar nominations, the first for directing the lush adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” starring a then-unknown Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, which grossed more than $52 million in the U.S. on a $1.5 million budget, according to the AP. He earned a second nomination for art and set decoration on his filmed version of the opera “La Traviata” starring Placido Domingo and Teresa Stratas.

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Zeffirelli was also widely acclaimed as a director of theater and opera in his native Italy and won two Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on PBS’ “Great Performances” productions of the operas “Pagliacci” in 1985 and “Cavalleria Rusticana

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