Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo was an Italian theatre, opera and cinema director and writer.
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 a 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.
With Gianni Puccini, Antonio Pietrangeli and Giuseppe De Santis he wrote the screenplay for his first film as director: Ossessione (Obsession, 1943), the first neorealist movie and an unofficial adaptation of the novel The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Visconti continued working throughout the 1950s and 60s, on successful movies such as Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and His Brothers, 1960), Il Gattopardo (The Leopard, 1963) or The Damned (1969), for which he received a nomination for an Academy Award, for "Best Screenplay". Visconti was also a celebrated theatre and opera director. During the years 1946-1960 he directed many performances of the Rina Morelli-Paolo Stoppa Company, with actor Vittorio Gassman plus many celebrated productions of operas.
Beginning with a production at Milan's Teatro alla Scala of La vestale in December 1954, which Visconti directed, his career included a famous revival of La traviata at La Scala in 1955 with Maria Callas, and an equally famous Anna Bolena (also at La Scala) in 1957, also with Callas.