25 Facts About Franco Zeffirelli


Gian Franco Corsi Zeffirelli, was an Italian stage and film director, producer, production designer and politician.


Franco Zeffirelli was one of the most significant opera and theatre directors of the post-World War II era, gaining both acclaim and notoriety for his lavish stagings of classical works, as well as his film adaptations of the same.


Franco Zeffirelli was awarded the Premio Colosseo in 2009 by the city of Rome.


Franco Zeffirelli was born after an affair between Florentine Alaide Garosi, a fashion designer, and Ottorino Corsi, a wool and silk dealer from Vinci.


Franco Zeffirelli came up with "Zeffiretti", which are the "little breezes" mentioned in Mozart's opera Idomeneo, of which she was quite fond.


Italian researchers found that Franco Zeffirelli was one of a handful of living people traceably consanguineous with Leonardo da Vinci.


Franco Zeffirelli was a descendant of one of da Vinci's siblings.


Franco Zeffirelli graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze in 1941 and, following his father's advice, entered the University of Florence to study art and architecture.


Franco Zeffirelli worked with directors such as Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini.


Franco Zeffirelli's first film as director was a version of The Taming of the Shrew, originally intended for Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni but featured the Hollywood stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in their stead.


Franco Zeffirelli moved on to contemporary themes with a remake of the boxing picture The Champ and the critically panned Endless Love.


Franco Zeffirelli returned to Shakespeare with Hamlet, casting Mel Gibson in the lead role.


Franco Zeffirelli's adaptation of the Charlotte Bronte novel Jane Eyre was a critical success.


Franco Zeffirelli frequently cast unknown actors in major roles: Leonard Whiting, Graham Faulkner and Martin Hewitt.


Franco Zeffirelli was a major director of opera productions from the 1950s in Italy and elsewhere in Europe as well as the United States.


Franco Zeffirelli began his career in the theatre as assistant to Luchino Visconti.


Franco Zeffirelli became a friend of Maria Callas and they worked together on a La traviata in Dallas, Texas, in 1958.


Franco Zeffirelli collaborated with Joan Sutherland, designing and directing her performances of Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor in 1959.


Franco Zeffirelli received criticism from religious groups for what they call the blasphemous representation of biblical figures in his films.


Franco Zeffirelli was a highly conservative Catholic, and served two terms in the Italian senate as a member of Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia party.


Franco Zeffirelli was criticized by members of the gay community for upholding the Catholic Church's position on homosexuality and by others for support of the Church's position on abortion, which extended to calling for capital punishment for women who had terminated a pregnancy.


In 1996, Franco Zeffirelli came out as gay, but thereafter preferred to be discreet about his personal life.


Franco Zeffirelli said that he considered himself "homosexual" rather than gay, as he felt the term "gay" was less elegant.


Franco Zeffirelli adopted two adult sons, men with whom he had lived and who worked for him for years, managing his affairs.


Franco Zeffirelli died at his home in Rome on 15 June 2019, at the age of 96.