Franco Zeffirelli is the stage name of Gianfranco Corsi (Florence, 1923), Italian filmmaker, director, designer and producer of operas, theater, film, and television. He began his career with Luchino Visconti, first as an actor and later as an assistant in various cinematographic, theatrical, and operatic productions. He became independent as an opera director in the early 1950s. His acclaimed production of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was the basis of his third film, Romeo and Juliet (1968). His international reputation suffered a setback following the failure of Brother Sol, Sister Luna (1972), but returned to success with the television production of Jesus of Nazareth (1978) and biographical film Callas Forever (2002).