Claudia Laffranchi was part of the colony of overseas journalists who cover Hollywood for global media outlets and participate in related events. She was, for instance, the host and master of ceremonies of the Locarno Film Festival’s screenings — and referred to herself as a "writer, reporter, director, producer, film festival host and consultant." Laffranchi was found dead Tuesday in her Los Angeles-area apartment. Friend Amy Alkon, the syndicated columnist, writes on Facebook that "Claudia Laffranchi was incredibly warm, wonderful, glamourous, and full of life. This is very, very sad. She lived well and fully, so at least she had a rich life while it lasted, and touched a lot of lives while she was here, including mine...
"She sounded and kind of looked like Sophia Loren, and you'd maybe expect somebody who looked as glam as she did to be kind of aloof. But she was a great friend — the kind of person who looked to include people and make them feel welcome."
From Laffranchi's website bio:
Claudia Laffranchi was born and raised in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.
She graduated from Geneva University with a Master Degree in Languages and Literature, and studied Film at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.
She worked for eight years for the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, Switzerland's public television network, where she produced several documentaries and magazine stories ranging from political to cultural to current affairs topics. Among them Long Live Italy, Long Live the King, on the monarchic resurgence in Italy; The Architecture of Francis II, President, on the majestic architectonic public works which changed the face of Paris during François Mitterand's years as French president (the Louvre Pyramid, The Opera Bastille, the Defense Arch, the Bercy Finance Ministry); The New Swiss, an investigation on how immigration is changing the face of the Swiss population, with a profile, among others, of the first black mayor in Switzerland; and a profile of the legendary (and legendarily publicity-shy) Italian singer-songwriter Francesco Guccini.
Now based in Los Angeles, Claudia Laffranchi is a regular contributor to Swiss Italian Television and Radio RSI, the Italian newspaper Il Giornale, and the Swiss magazine Il Caffe. She has interviewed actors and directors such as George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Sharon Stone, Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Adam Sandler, Tom Hanks, Jodie Foster, Jamie Foxx, Cher, Denzel Washington, Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ridley Scott, Tim Burton and Michael Mann, just to name a few.
Photo from her website