A History of Star-Crossed Lovers
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O Romeo, Romeo!1 of 15
Love, and heart-wrenching tragedy, are in the air: Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad take the Broadway stage in the latest reprisal of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet this fall, and early next year, Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth will star in a film adaptation. To celebrate hopeless romantics everywhere, we are taking a look back at how the greatest love story of all time has been depicted over the years.
19082 of 15
The first American film of Romeo and Juliet (a silent short) starred Florence Lawrence and Paul Panzer and was shot in Central Park.
19343 of 15
At the Martin Beck Theatre in New York, Katherine Cornell and Basil Rathbone became the first couple to die for their love on Broadway. Fun fact: a 19-year-old Orson Welles appeared alongside them as Tybalt.
19364 of 15
Two years later, Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard appeared in the first full-length film version of the story, helping to make them two of the greatest film stars of their time.
19545 of 15
Renato Castellani was named best director at the Venice Film Festival for his rendition of Romeo and Juliet starring Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall.
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19616 of 15
The star-crossed lovers got a famous modern makeover in West Side Story when the Jets and the Sharks danced and sang through the New York City streets and rat packer Tony, played by Richard Beymer, fell in love with Maria (a young Natalie Wood).
19647 of 15
In the summer of '64, all the sock-hoppers were dancing to The Reflections' doo-wop hit "(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet."
19668 of 15
Considered one of the greatest ballet duos of all time, when Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev took the stage in Sergei Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," their chemistry was so intense it has since been rumored that their romance extended far beyond the stage.
19769 of 15
Before The Lord of the Rings and X-Men films, Sir Ian McKellen played Romeo opposite Francesca Annis for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
196810 of 15
Franco Zeffirelli's film adaptation starred a 15-year-old Olivia Hussey and 17-year-old Leonard Whiting, who became a couple post-production. Hussey won a Golden Globe for her performance.
198111 of 15
In 1981 British rockers Dire Straits released the single "Romeo and Juliet," which was considered an instant classic. It appeared in Empire Records in 1994 and was covered by The Killers in 2007. The song was also covered by the Indigo Girls on their 1992 album, Rites of Passage.
199512 of 15
This made-for-TV British movie starred Geraldine Somerville and Jonathan Firth (yes, Colin's brother).
199613 of 15
Baz Luhrmann's stunning modern depiction starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, amid the deco technicolors of Verona Beach, violent gunfights, and an angel-winged, Prada-clad Juliet. Our hearts still leap when they first spot each other through the fish tank.
199814 of 15
In this rendition of the classic story, it is the playwright himself who acts the part of Romeo. Starring Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love looked at the origin of the Bard's ability to so astutely capture heartache. Paltrow also took home an Oscar for her role in the film.
200715 of 15
Lauren Ambrose played Juliet opposite Oscar Isaac in the Public Theatre's summer production of "Romeo and Juliet" in Central Park.