Acclaimed film director Bernardo Bertolucci, whose films included Last Tango In Paris and The Last Emperor, has died from cancer at the age of 77.
The Italian filmmaker won two Oscars, for directing and co-writing The Last Emperor, the 1987 film about the last emperor of China which starred John Lone as Emperor Pu Yi alongside Joan Chen and Peter O’Toole. It was the first film the Chinese government allowed Western filmmakers to shoot in the Forbidden City area of Beijing.
Known for his distinctive visual style, Bertolucci caused controversy with erotic drama Last Tango In Paris in 1972, notably for a scene in which Marlon Brando covered Maria Schneider in butter.
Bertolucci’s final film was relationship drama Me And You in 2012, starring Jacopo Olmo Antinori and Tea Falco. A statement from Bertolucci’s agent confirmed the director had died of an unspecified form of cancer following a short illness.
Beginning his career in films as assistant to respected film director Pier Paolo Passolini, Bertolucci was just 21 when he directed his first film La Commare Secca in 1962.
It was Last Tango In Paris that gave Bertolucci an international audience, with his other films including The Dreamers, 1900 and The Sheltering Sky.
The Last Emperor won a total of nine Oscars in 1988, including Best Picture.
Bertolucci was given a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2008, and was awarded an honorary Palmes D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival the year before his final film in 2011.
After Me And You, Bertolucci became too unwell to make further films.