Luchino Visconti

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Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo (2 November 1906 - 17 March 1976) was an Italian theatre, opera and cinema director, as well as a screenwriter. He is best known for his films The Leopard (1963) and Death in Venice (1971). There is a museum dedicated to the director's work in Ischia.



One of seven children, Visconti was born in Milan into a noble and wealthy family, one of the region's richest. His father Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone was the Duke of Grazzano. In his early years he was exposed to art, music and theatre, and met the composer Giacomo Puccini, the conductor Arturo Toscanini and the writer Gabriele d'Annunzio.

During World War II Visconti joined the Italian Communist Party.

Visconti made no secret of his homosexuality. His last partner was the Austrian actor Helmut Berger, who played Martin in Visconti's film The Damned. Berger also appeared in Visconti's Ludwig in 1972 and Conversation Piece in 1974 along with Burt Lancaster. Other lovers included Franco Zeffirelli,[1] who also worked as part of the crew (i.e. production design, assistant director, etc.) in a number of Visconti's films and theatrical productions.



He began his filmmaking career as an assistant director on Jean Renoir's Toni (1935) and Une partie de campagne (1936), thanks to the intercession of their common friend, Coco Chanel. After a short tour of the United States, where he visited Hollywood, he returned to Italy to be Renoir's assistant again, this time for La Tosca (1939), a production that was interrupted and later completed by German director Karl Koch because of World War II.

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