Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini

Infobox actor
name = Isabella Rossellini

imagesize = 200px
caption = Rossellini at the 2005 Torino Film Festivalmark
birthdate = birth date and age|1952|6|18
birthplace = Rome, Italy
birthname = Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini
spouse = Martin Scorsese (1979–1982)
Jonathan Wiedemann (1983–1986)
yearsactive = 1976 - present
awards = Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress (film)
1992 "Death Becomes Her"
Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress
1986 "Blue Velvet"

Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini (born June 18, 1952) is an Italian actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model. Rossellini is noted for her 14-year tenure as a Lancôme model, and for her roles in films such as "Blue Velvet" and "Death Becomes Her".



Rossellini is the daughter of Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman and the Italian director Roberto Rossellini. She has three siblings from her mother: her twin sister Isotta Ingrid Rossellini, who is an adjunct professor of Italian literature; a brother, Roberto Ingmar Rossellini, who works in finance; and a half-sister, Pia Lindström, who formerly worked on television and is from her mother's first marriage. She also has four other siblings from her father's two other marriages: Romano (died at age 9), Renzo, Gil, and Raffaella. [cite news |title=Like Father... |url=,,1299861,00.html |work=Guardian Unlimited |publisher=Guardian News and Media Limited |date=2004-09-06 |accessdate=2007-01-29 ]

Rossellini was born and raised in Rome, Santa Marinella, and Paris. At the age of 13, she was diagnosed with scoliosis. In order to correct it, Isabella had to undergo an 18 month ordeal of painful stretchings, body casts, surgery on her spine using pieces of one of her shin bones (used to add supports for the individual vertebrae without risking foreign body rejection issues), and a recovery from that surgery. Consequently, she has permanent incision scars on her back and shin.

At the age of 19, she came to New York, where she attended Finch College while working as a translator, a ringmaster at circuses and a RAI television reporter. She also appeared intermittently on Roberto Benigni's Italian comedy show, "The Other Sunday". However, she did not decide to stay full time in New York until her marriage to Martin Scorsese (1979–1982). After her marriage to Scorsese, she married Jon Wiedemann (1983–1986), a Harvard-educated model from Texas (now a Microsoft executive), and gave birth to a daughter, Elettra. Later, she dated David Lynch, Gary Oldman, and Gregory Mosher.

Modeling career

At the age of 28, her modeling career began, when she was photographed by Bruce Weber for British "Vogue" and by Bill King for American "Vogue". During her career, she has also worked with many other renowned photographers, including Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh, Norman Parkinson, Eve Arnold, Francesco Scavullo, Annie Leibovitz, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Her image has appeared on such magazines as "Marie Claire", "Harper's Bazaar", "Vanity Fair", and "ELLE". Furthermore, in March 1988, an exhibition dedicated to photographs of her, called "Portrait of a Woman", was held at the Musee d'Art Moderne in Paris.

Rossellini's modeling career led her into the world of cosmetics, when she became the exclusive spokesmodel for the international cosmetics brand Lancôme in 1982, replacing Nancy Dutiel in the United States and Carol Alt in Europe. While there, in 1990, she was involved in product development for Lancôme's fragrance Trésor. Later, in 1995, she worked with the Coty Group and developed her own brand of cosmetics, Isabella Rossellini's Manifesto. However, in 1996, after 14 years with the company, she was infamously removed as the face of Lancôme for being "too old", since she was in her 40s at the time. She is signed to Trump Model Management.

Film career

Rossellini made her film debut with a brief appearance as a nun opposite her mother in the 1976 film "A Matter of Time". However, she did not truly begin acting until the 1979 film "Il Prato". She did not become successful with acting until after her mother's death in 1982, when she was cast in her first American film, White Nights (1985). Nonetheless, she is probably best known for her pivotal role as the nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens in David Lynch's "Blue Velvet". Some other notable film roles include her work in "Cousins", "Death Becomes Her", "Immortal Beloved", and "Fearless".

In 2003, Rossellini had a recurring role on the television series, "Alias". In that same year, she also appeared in the Canadian film "The Saddest Music in the World" directed by Guy Maddin. In 2004 she played as the High Priestess Thar in the Sci Fi Channel miniseries "Legend of Earthsea". In addition, she acted in an Off-Broadway production of "The Stendhal Syndrome". Furthermore, she became an ambassador for the Silversea Cruise Line, which has her appearing in print ads and on their website.cite web |url= |title=News: Actress Isabella Rossellini Joins Silversea |accessdate=2007-02-09 |work=Cruise Critic News: Cruise Reviews and News | date=2004-10-11 ]

In 2006, Rossellini was on television for several documentaries. First, she narrated a two-hour television special on Italy for the Discovery Channel's "Discovery Atlas" series, in order to show a glimpse of present-day Italy. In addition, on an episode of the Sundance Channel series "Iconoclasts", which also featured the Segway PT inventor Dean Kamen, she told about her past and what activities she is currently involved in. [cite web |url= |title=Episode 4: Isabella Rossellini + Dean Kamen |accessdate=2007-01-29 |work=Iconoclasts: change the way you see celebrity |publisher=Sundance Channel L.L.C. ] In 2007, Rossellini guest starred on two episodes of the television show "30 Rock", playing Alec Baldwin's ex-wife.

In 2008, Rossellini toured the festival circuit with a series of short films entitled Green Porno, which she wrote and co-directed with Jody Shapiro. Each Green Porno film is one minute long, and has Rossellini reenacting the mating rituals of various insects.

Rossellini received a 1987 Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for her role in "Blue Velvet". In 1997, she received two notable award nominations. She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV for her role in "Crime of the Century" and an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her work on the television series "Chicago Hope".


Outside of acting, modeling, and cosmetics, Rossellini is involved in conservation efforts. She is a board member of the Wildlife Conservation Network. [cite web |url= |title=About WCN |accessdate=2007-01-29 |work=Wildlife Conservation Network |publisher=Wildlife Conservation Network, Inc. ] In addition, she is the president and director of the Howard Gilman Foundation, a leading institution focused on the preservation of wildlife, arts, photography and dance. [cite web |url= |title=Howard Gilman Foundation |accessdate=2007-01-29 | |publisher=Center for Consumer Freedom] [cite web |url= |title=Famous Conservationists: Isabella Rossellini |accessdate=2007-01-29 |work=Animal Planet |publisher=Discovery Communications Inc.] Disney gave $100,000 to her to help with her conservation efforts in those two organizations. [cite web |url= |title=Environmentality: Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund |accessdate=2007-01-29 |work=Disney Worldwide Outreach |publisher=Disney ] She has also helped with the Central Park Conservancy. [cite web |url= |title=Power Play - July 2004 - Isabella Rossellini |accessdate=2007-01-29 |work=Park and Recreation Magazine |publisher=National Recreation and Park Association ] Furthermore, Rossellini is considered a major benefactor of the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society of Bellport, Long Island, where she is a part-time resident. [cite web |url=,%20Julia%20C.|title=EXHIBITS; How the Gruccis' Pyrotechnics Grew |accessdate=2007-12-02 |work=New York Times |publisher=NYT ]

Rossellini is also involved in training guide dogs for the blind. [cite web |url= |title=Puppy Program |accessdate=2007-01-29 |publisher=Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.] [cite news |first=Verena |last=Dobnik |title=Rossellini gains new insight from guide dog training |url= |work=Chicago Sun-Times |publisher=The Chicago Sun-Times, Inc. |date=2004-12-28 |accessdate=2007-01-29 ] In addition, she is a former trustee of the George Eastman House and a 1997 George Eastman Award honoree for her support of film preservation. [cite web |url= |title=Press Room: Isabella Rossellini visits Eastman House May 1 |accessdate=2007-01-29 |date=2006-03-29 |work=George Eastman House: International Museum of Photography and Film |publisher=George Eastman House] She is also a National Ambassador for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. [cite web |url= |title=News Releases: Angela Bassett, Alyssa Milano, Isabella Rossellini, Liv Tyler and Courtney B. Vance appointed National Ambassadors for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF |accessdate=2007-01-29 |date=2003-11-18 |work=United States for UNICEF |publisher=United States Fund for UNICEF ]


Rossellini has written three books. In 1997, her self-described fictional memoir, "Some of Me", was published. In 2002, she released her second book, "Looking at Me (on pictures and photographers)". In 2006, "In the name of the Father, the Daughter and the Holy Spirits: Remembering Roberto Rossellini" was published and was accompanied by the Guy Maddin-directed short film "My Dad Is 100 Years Old" (both the film and the book are tributes to her father). In the film, she played almost every role, including David Selznick, Alfred Hitchcock, and her mother Ingrid Bergman.

Personal life

Isabella Rossellini holds dual United States and Italian citizenship. [cite journal | author = Isabella Rossellini | date = 2001-11-06 | title = In Defense of Fallaci | journal = New York Times | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-09 ] She has a daughter, Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann (born 1983), and an adopted son, Roberto (born 1992). [cite news |title=People always say: 'It's Ingrid' |url= | |publisher=Telegraph Media Group Limited|date=2006-06-16 |accessdate=2007-01-29 ] [cite news |first=Annabel |last=Rivkin |title=She's Elettra |work=Evening Standard |publisher=Associated Newspapers Ltd. |date=2004-11-12 |accessdate=2007-01-29 ]



* "A Matter of Time" (1976)
* "Il Prato" ("The Meadow")
* "Il Pap'occhio" (1980)
* "White Nights" (1985)
* "Blue Velvet" (1986)
* "Oci Ciornie" (1987)
* "Tough Guys Don't Dance" (1987)
* "Siesta" (1987)
* "Zelly and Me" (1988)
* "Cousins" (1989)
* "Red Riding Hood" (1989)
* "Wild at Heart" (1990)
* "Dames Galantes" (1990)
* "Caccia Alla Vedova" (1991)
* "Death Becomes Her" (1992)
* "The Pickle" (1993)
* "The Innocent" (1993)
* "Fearless" (1993)
* "Wyatt Earp" (1994)
* "Immortal Beloved" (1994)
* "Croce e delizia" (1995)
* "Big Night" (1996)
* "The Funeral" (1996)
* "Left Luggage" (1998)
* "The Impostors" (1998)
* "Il Cielo cade" (2000)
* "Empire" (2002)
* "Roger Dodger" (2002)
* "" (2003)
* "The Saddest Music in the World" (2003)
* "" (2004)
* "King of the Corner" (2004)
* "Heights" (2004)
* "La Fiesta Del Chivo" (2005)
* "My Dad is 100 Years Old" (2005)
* "The Architect" (2006)
* "Infamous" (2006)
* "The Last Jews of Libya" (2007)
* "The Accidental Husband" (2008)
* "My Dog Tulip" (2008)
* "Two Lovers" (2008)
* "Green Porno" (2008) [cite web |url= |title=Green Porno Press Kit |accessdate=2008-05-03 |date=2008-03-24 |format=PDF | |publisher=The Sundance Channel]

Television credits

* "The Tracey Ullman Show" (3 episodes, 1989–1990)
* "Ivory Hunters" (1990)
* "Lies Of the Twins" (1991)
* "Fallen Angels" (1 episode, 1993)
* "The Gift" (1994)
* "Tales from the Crypt" (1 episode, 1995)
* "Friends" (1 episode, 1996)
* "Crime of the Century" (1996)
* "Chicago Hope" (2 episodes, 1997)
* "The Odyssey" (1997)
* "Merlin" (1998)
* "The Simpsons" (1 episode, 1999)
* "Don Quixote" (2000)
* "Napoleon" (2002)
* "Monte Walsh" (2003)
* "Earthsea" (2004)
* "Alias" (5 episodes, 2004–2005)
* "Filthy Gorgeous" (2006)
* "" (2006)
* "Iconoclasts" (2006)
* "30 Rock" (2 episodes, 2007)

Theatre credits

*"The Stendhal Syndrome" (2004) (off-Broadway)

Further reading

*cite web |url= |title=Isabella Rossellini: Biography |accessdate=2007-01-29 |format=Flash |work=Iconoclasts |publisher=Sundance Channel L.L.C.
*cite book | author=Rossellini, Isabella| title=Some of Me | publisher=Random House | year=1997 | location=New York | isbn=0-679-45252-4
*cite book | author=Rossellini, Isabella| title=Looking at Me (on pictures and photographers)| publisher=Schirmer Art | year=2002 | location=Munich | isbn=3-8296-0057-7
*cite book | author=Rossellini, Isabella| title=In the Name of the Father, the Daughter and the Holy Spirits, Remembering Roberto Rossellini | publisher=Haus Publishing | year=2006 | location=London | isbn=1-9049-5091-4


External links

* [ Isabella Rossellini] at the [ Internet Off-Broadway Database]
* [ Interview with Isabella Rossellini before the release of "The Saddest Music in the World".]
* [ Interview with Isabella Rossellini after 14 years with Lancôme]
* [,,2072828,00.html Interview with Isabella Rossellini about her career and her parent's legacy]

NAME=Rossellini, Isabella
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Rossellini, Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Actress, Model, Filmmaker, Author, Philanthropist
DATE OF BIRTH=June 18, 1952

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