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Italian director Franco Zeffirelli dies at 96

ROME – Italian director Franco Zeffirelli has died in Rome at age 96.

He delighted audiences around the world with his romantic vision and often extravagant productions, most famously captured in his cinematic “Romeo and Juliet.” He also crafted the 1977 TV mini-series “Jesus of Nazareth”.

While Zeffirelli was most popularly known for his films, his name was also inextricably linked to the theater and opera. Showing great flexibility, he produced classics for the world’s most famous opera houses, from Milan’s venerable La Scala to the Metropolitan in New York, and plays for London and Italian stages.

Zeffirelli’s son Luciano said his father died at home on Saturday.

“He had suffered for a while, but he left in a peaceful way,” he said.

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