Italian director Franco Zeffirelli dies at age 96

Italian director Franco Zeffirelli dies at age 96
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. Zefffirelli's son Luciano said his father died at home on Saturday at noon. (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey, File)

ROME (AP) — Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, famed for operas, films and television, has died in Rome at the age of 96.

Zefffirelli’s son Luciano said his father died at home at noon on Saturday. “He had suffered for a while, but he left in a peaceful way,” he said.

Zeffirelli delighted audiences around the world with his romantic vision and often extravagant productions, most famously captured in his cinematic rendering of “Romeo and Juliet” and the miniseries “Jesus of Nazareth.”

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.