11-02-1906

Helmut Berger (L) and Lucino Visconti (R)

LUCINO VISCONTI, Italian director, Duke of Modrone, born (d. 1976)  was an Italian theater and cinema director and writer, best known for films such as The Leopard (1963). It was not until his 1969 film, The Damned, that Visconti received a nomination for an Academy Award, for “Best Screenplay”. He did not win. The film, one of Visconti’s best-known works, is about a German industrialist family that slowly begins to disintegrate during World War II. The decadence and lavish beauty were archetypes of Visconti’s aesthetic. Visconti’s final film was The Innocent (1976), which has the recurring theme of infidelity and betrayal.

Visconti made no secret of his sexuality. His last partner was the Austrian actor Helmut Berger, who played Martin in 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.