Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, most famous for his controversial 1972 hit Last Tango in Paris and his Oscar-winning 1987 epic The Last Emperor, died Monday at his home in Rome. His wife, Clare Peploe, confirmed his death, but did not give a cause. He was 77.
Bertolucci was born and grew up in Parma, the son of noted Italian poet Atillio Bertolucci and a literature teacher, the former Ninetta Giovanardi. After the family moved to Rome, Bernardo Bertolucci began shooting short films, and he dropped his early and acclaimed embrace of poetry for filmmaking after working with fellow poet-turned-filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1961. A year later, Bertolucci debuted his first feature film, The Grim Reaper, about the murder of a prostitute in a park in Roma.
Along with The Last Emperor — the first Western movie China allowed to be filmed in the Forbidden City — and Last Tango in Paris, which was awarded an X rating in America for its graphic sex scenes and banned in Italy, Bertolucci is best known for his four-hour saga 1900 (1976), The Sheltering Sky (1990), Little Buddha (1993), and Stealing Beauty (1996). He made his last film, Me and You (2012), in a wheelchair due to serious back problems.
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