FILE - Franco Zeffirelli, seen in New York, in this Oct. 31, 1974 file photo. Italian film director Franzo Zeffirelli has died in Rome at the age of 96. (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey, File)
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Franco Zeffirelli, who directed the world's greatest opera singers and brought Shakespeare to the cinemagoing masses, has died.Zeffirelli's opera productions for the stage included singers such as Maria Callas, Placido Domingo, Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Renata Scotto and Jose Carreras."Romeo and Juliet," one of several times Zeffirelli brought Shakespeare to the screen, was nominated for best picture and best director Oscars.However, Zeffirelli's unconventional ventures into opera were often welcomed more abroad than at home, particularly in the United States, where he had more than a dozen top productions at the New York Metropolitan Opera.In 1994 Zeffirelli, who directed several productions at London's Covent Garden, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his "valuable services to British performing arts". Zeffirelli hated the term "gay," saying it was "undignified".A transcription error by a city hall clerk made it forever "Zeffirelli".Away from the screen and the stage, Zeffirelli was often in the news for his outspoken views.
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