Gian Franco Corsi Zeffirelli KBE, Grande Ufficiale OMRI (12 February 1923 – 15 June 2019), commonly known as Franco Zeffirelli (Italian pronunciation: [ˈfraŋko dzeffiˈrɛlli]), was an Italian director and producer of operas, films and television. He was also a senator from 1994 until 2001 for the Italian centre-right Forza Italia party.
Some of his operatic designs and productions have become worldwide classics.
He was also known for several of the movies he directed, especially the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. His 1967 version of The Taming of the Shrew with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton remains the best-known film adaptation of that play as well. His miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977) won both national and international acclaim and is still frequently shown on Christmas and Easter in many countries.
A Grande Ufficiale OMRI of the Italian Republic since 1977, Zeffirelli also received an honorary British knighthood in 2004 when he was created a KBE. He was awarded the Premio Colosseo in 2009 by the city of Rome.