Rossellini, Isabella 1952–

views updated May 29 2018

ROSSELLINI, Isabella 1952–


Full name, Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini; born June 18, 1952, in Rome, Italy; daughter of Roberto Rossellini (a director) and Ingrid Bergman (an actress); half sister of Pia Lindstrom (a journalist); married Martin Scorsese (a director), September, 1979 (divorced November, 1982); married Jonathan Wiedemann (a model; divorced); children: (second marriage) Elettra Ingrid (a model); Roberto. Education: Attended Finch College, 1972, New School for Social Research, and Academy of Fashion and Costume, Rome. Avocational Interests: Animal welfare, environmental protection.

Addresses: Agent—Cunningham/Escott/Dipene and Associates, 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 140, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Manager—Gene Parseghian, Parseghian/Planco Management, Untitled Entertainment, 23 East 22nd St., Third Floor, New York, NY 10010. Publicist—I/D Public Relations, 8409 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069.

Career: Actress. Professional model; appeared on numerous magazine covers; contracted to model Lancome cosmetics, 1982–95; appeared in print advertising for milk, 1995. Lancaster Group (division of Coty, Inc.), vice president, beginning 1995, creator of the cosmetic line Manifesto, 1999. RAI–TV, Italy, worked as an interviewer; also a location scout. New School for Social Research, teacher of Italian; translator for an Italian news bureau.

Member: Screen Actors Guild.

Awards, Honors: Silver Ribbon, Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, best new actress, 1980, for Il prato; Independent Spirit Award, Independent Features Project/West, best female lead, 1987, for Blue Velvet; Saturn Award, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, best supporting actress, 1993, for Death Becomes Her; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a miniseries or motion picture made for television, 1997, for Crime of the Century; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding guest actress in a drama series, 1997, for "Mother, May I?," Chicago Hope; George Eastman Award, 1997; special mention for exceptional performance, Berlin International Film Festival, 1998, for Left Luggage; David Award nomination, David di Donatello awards, best actress, 2000, for Il cielo cade; Bronze Wrangler Award (with others), Western Heritage awards, outstanding television film, 2004, for Monte Walsh.


Film Appearances:

Sister Pia, A Matter of Time (also known as Nina), American International Pictures, 1976.

Eugenia, Il prato (also known as The Meadow), SACIS, 1979.

Isabella, Il pap'occhio (also known as In the Pope's Eye), Titanus, 1980.

Darya Greenwood, White Nights, Columbia, 1985.

Dorothy Vallens, Blue Velvet, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, 1986.

Lady Jeanne, Cannon Movie Tales: Red Riding Hood, Cannon, 1987.

Madeleine Regency, Tough Guys Don't Dance, Cannon, 1987.

Marie, Siesta, Lorimar, 1987.

Mademoiselle Zelly, Zelly and Me (also known as Phoebe), Columbia, 1988.

Maria Hardy, Cousins (also known as A Touch of Infidelity), Paramount, 1989.

Peredita Durango, Wild at Heart (also known as David Lynch's Wild at Heart), Propaganda Films/Samuel Goldwyn, 1990.

Victoire, Dames galantes (also known as Gallant Ladies and Donne de piacere), 1990.

Rosanna, L'assedio di Venezia (also known as The Siege of Venice, Widow Hunt, Caccia alla vedova, Le diable a quatre, and Osada Venetsij), 1991.

Lisle Von Rhumans (some sources spell the surname Von Rhoman), Death Becomes Her, Universal, 1992.

Laura Klein, Fearless, Warner Bros., 1993.

Maria, The Innocent (also known as ... Und der Himmel steht still), 1993.

(Uncredited) Planet Cleveland woman, The Pickle, Columbia, 1993.

Anna Marie Erdody, Immortal Beloved, Columbia, 1994.

Big nose Kate, Wyatt Earp, Warner Bros., 1994.

Henriette, Croce e delizia, 1995.

Clara, The Funeral, October Films, 1996.

Gabriella, Big Night, Samuel Goldwyn, 1996.

Mrs. Kalman, Left Luggage (also known as 2 koffers vol), 1997, Castle Hill, 2000.

The veiled queen, The Imposters, Fox Searchlight, 1998.

Katchen, Il cielo cade (also known as The Sky Will Fall), Istituto Luce, 2000.

Roberto Rossellini: Frammenti e battute (documentary), 2000.

Joanna Menendez (La Colombiana), Empire, Universal, 2002.

Joyce, Roger Dodger, Artisan Entertainment, 2002.

Madame Moitessier, The Tulse Luper Suitcases: The Moab Story (also known as Las maletas de Tulse Luper: La historia de Moab and Le valigie di Tulse Luper—La storia di Moab), A–Film Distribution, 2003.

Lady Port–Huntley, The Saddest Music in the World, IFC Films, 2004.

Liz, Heights, Sony Pictures Classics, 2004.

Madame Moitessier, The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 2: Vaux to the Sea, A–Film Distribution, 2004.

Rachel Spivak, King of the Corner (also known as Pursuit of Happiness), Elevation Filmworks/Ardustry Entertainment, 2004.

The Lost City, Lions Gate Films, 2004.

The Wedding Contract, Premiere Marketing and Distribution, 2004.

Also appeared in The Feast of the Goat.

Film Assistant Costume Designer:

Blaise Pascal, 1971.

Agostino d'Ippona (also known as Augustine of Hippo), 1972.

Television Appearances; Series:

Appeared in the Italian series The Other Sunday.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Athena, Homer's The Odyssey (also known as Homer's Odyssey, The Odyssey, Die Abenteuer des Odysseus, and Odissea), NBC, 1997.

Nimue, Merlin, NBC, 1998.

Dulcinea, Don Quixote, TNT, 1999.

Josephine de Beauharnais, Napoleon (also known as Le tricorne de Napoleon), Arts and Entertainment, 2002.

High priestess Thar, Earthsea, Sci–Fi Channel, 2004.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Maria DiConti, The Ivory Hunters (also known as The Last Elephant), TNT, 1990.

Rachel Marks, Lies of the Twins, USA Network, 1991.

Anna Hauptmann, Crime of the Century, HBO, 1996.

Martine, Monte Walsh, TNT, 2003.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Herself, No Frank in Lumberton, 1988.

Gabriella, The Gift, Showtime, 1994.

Images of Life: Photographs that Changed the World, CBS, 1996.

The Late Show with David Letterman Video Special 2, CBS, 1996.

Host, The World Fashion Premiere from Paris, ABC, 1998.

Host, Paris Fashion Collections, ABC, 1999.

Herself, Models Uncovered, The Learning Channel, 1999.

Wild City, TBS, 1999.

Host, "Lincoln Center Festival 2001," Live from Lincoln Center, PBS, 2001.

Die Zehn Gebote der Kreativitaet (also known as The 10 Commandments of Creativity), 2001.

Martha Stewart's Home for the Holidays, CBS, 2001.

World VDAY (also known as Until the Violence Stops), Lifetime, 2003.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 59th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1987.

The 1987 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards, 1987.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Ilenia, "My Date with Il Duce," The Tracey Ullman Show, Fox, 1989.

Mae, "... And God Created Tillman," The Tracey Ullman Show, Fox, 1989.

Guest, Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992.

Herself, "Roberto Rossellini," Arena, BBC–2, 1990.

Mae, "Ginny Eats Escrow," The Tracey Ullman Show, Fox, 1990.

Guest, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, 1991.

Babe Lonsdale, "The Frightening Frammis," Fallen Angels, Showtime, 1993.

Guest, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, multiple appearances, beginning 1993.

Betty Spinelli, "You Murderer," Tales from the Crypt (also known as HBO's Tales from the Crypt), HBO, 1995.

Herself, "The One with Frank, Jr.," Friends, NBC, 1996.

Professor Marina Giannini, "Missed Conception," Chicago Hope, CBS, 1997.

Professor Marina Giannini, "Mother, May I?," Chicago Hope, CBS, 1997.

Guest, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1998.

Voice of Astrid Weller, "Mom and Pop Art," The Simpsons (animated), Fox, 1999.

Herself, Boulevard Bio, 1999.

Herself, Intimate Portrait: Ingrid Bergman, Lifetime, 1999.

Herself, Intimate Portrait: Laura Dern, Lifetime, 1999.

Narrator, Intimate Portrait: Iman, Lifetime, 1999.

Guest, Foerst & sist, 2001.

Guest, Die Harald Schmidt Show, 2002.

Guest, Leute heute, 2002.

Guest, Larry King Live, Cable News Network, 2003.

Katya Derevko, "Crossings," Alias, ABC, 2004.

Katya Derevko, "Legacy," Alias, ABC, 2004.

Katya Derevko, "Resurrection," Alias, ABC, 2004.

Stage Appearances:

Bimbi and conductor's wife, The Stendhal Syndrome, Primary Stages Theatre, New York City, 2004.



Herself, Mysteries of Love, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2002.

Music Videos:

"Erotica," by Madonna, 1992.

"Jealousy," by Dave Stewart, 1995.

Video Games:

Voice, Goosebumps: Escape from Horrorland, 1996.



Author of foreword, 10 Years of Dolce and Gabbana, Abbeville Press, 1996.

Some of Me (autobiography), Random House, 1997.



Newsmakers, Issue 4, Gale, 2001.


Entertainment Weekly, May 14, 2004, p. 34.

Good Housekeeping, October, 1991, p. 36.

Interview, April, 1988, p. 54; February, 1996, p. 88.

Money, May 15, 2001, pp. 44–45.

New York, June 16, 1997, pp. 45–52.

People Weekly, July, 1991, p. 52.

Vogue, January, 1993, p. 102.

Rossellini, Isabella

views updated May 29 2018


Nationality: Italian. Born: Rome, 18 June 1952; daughter of the director Roberto Rossellini and the actress Ingrid Bergman. Family: Married 1) the director Martin Scorsese, 1979 (divorced 1983); 2) Jonathan Wiedemann (divorced), daughter: Elettra Ingrid; also has adopted son: Roberto; 3) the actor Gary Oldman, 1994; had long-term relationship with the director David Lynch. Education: Was graduated from Rome's Academy of Fashion and Costume; attended Finch College and The New School for Social Research. Career: 1972—moved to New York at age 19; 1970s—worked as a translator for the Italian News Bureau and as a New York correspondent for Italian TV; 1976—made her screen debut opposite her mother, Ingrid Bergman, in A Matter of Time; 1979—returned to Italy to play first leading movie role, in Il Prato; 1980—began modeling career; 1982—enrolled in acting classes; 1993—in "The Frightening Frammis" episode of the TV series Fallen Angels. Address: Click Model Management, Inc., 881 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019, U.S.A.

Films as Actress:


A Matter of Time (Minnelli) (as Sister Pia)


Il Prato (The Meadow) (Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani) (as Eugenia)


Il Pap'occhio (In the Pope's Eye) (Arbore) (as Isabella)


White Nights (Hackford) (as Darya Greenwood)


Blue Velvet (David Lynch) (as Dorothy Vallens)


Tough Guys Don't Dance (Mailer) (as Madeline); Siesta (Lambert) (as Marie); Red Riding Hood (Adam Brooks)


Zelly and Me (Rathborne) (as Joan, "Zelly")


Cousins (Schumacher) (as Maria Hardy)


Wild at Heart (David Lynch) (as Perdita Durango); Ivory Hunters (The Lost Elephant) (Sargent—for TV) (as Maria Di Conti)


Dames Galantes (Gallant Ladies) (Tacchella) (as Victoire); Lies of the Twins (Hunter—for TV) (as Rachel Marks)


Death Becomes Her (Zemeckis) (as Lisle Von Rhoman)


Fearless (Weir) (as Laura Klein); The Pickle (Mazursky) (as Planet Cleveland Woman); . . . und der Himmel steht still (The Innocent) (Schlesinger) (as Maria)


Wyatt Earp (Kasdan) (as Big Nosed Kate); Immortal Beloved (Rose) (as Anna Marie Erdody)


The Funeral (Ferrara) (as Clara); Big Night (Scott and Tucci); Crime of the Century (Rydell—for TV) (as Anna Hauptmann)


The Odyssey (Konchalovsky—series for TV) (as Athene)


Left Luggage (Krabbé) (as Mrs. Kalman); Merlin (Barron) (as Nimue); The Impostors (Tucci) (as Queen)


Don Quixote (Yates—for TV) (as The Duchess)



Some of Me, New York, 1997, 1999.

By ROSSELLINI: articles—

Interview with Joseph Gelmis, in Newsday (Melville, New York), 18 April 1982.

Interview with Elaine Dutka, in Time (New York), 2 May 1983.

"On Her Own," interview with Alice Steinback, in Saturday Review (New York), November/December 1985.

"Isabella Rossellini Accesses the Role that Haunted Her," interview with L. Winer, in New York Times, 23 November 1986.

"Isabella Interview," interview with P. Stone, in Interview (New York), April 1988.

"Bella, Bella Isabella," interview with C. McGuigan and others, in Newsweek (New York), 2 May 1988.

"Ted Danson and Isabella Rossellini Starring in Cousins," in American Premiere Magazine, vol. 9, no. 1, 1989.

"Silent Star," interview with Joan Juliet Buck, in Vogue, January 1993.

Interview with D. Furnish, in Interview, February 1996.

"The Beauty of Imperfection," in Vogue, June 1997.


Young, Cathleen, Isabella Rossellini: Quiet Renegade, New York, 1989.

On ROSSELLINI: articles—

"The Women We Love," in Esquire (New York), June 1987.

Current Biography 1988, New York, 1988.

Farrow, M., "Making Cousins: An Excursion into Relativity," in New York Times, vol. 138, section 2, 5 February 1989.

"The Talk of the Town: Mother and Daughter," in New Yorker, 23 October 1989.

Hample, H.S., "Filmographies," in Premiere (Boulder), vol. 7, October 1993.

Gorin, François, "L'actrice modèle: État second," in Télérama (Paris), no. 2310, 20 April 1994.

Theodoracopulos, Taki, "The Allure of Allure," in National Review, 12 August 1996.

Vanity Fair (New York), no. 442, June 1997.

Mead, R., "Face Time," in New York Magazine, vol. 30, 16 June 1997.

* * *

Isabella Rossellini was born into celluloid royalty; she is the daughter of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini. Her fame rests mostly in her bloodline, her uncanny resemblance to her mother, and her extraordinary success as a model. Rossellini began the latter career at age 28, and soon became one of the world's highest-paid and most in-demand models. She has graced more than 500 magazine covers, and earned $2-million a year from a contract with Lancome, the French cosmetics company. In 1982, she appeared on the cover of the U.S. edition of Vogue, which became the magazine's biggest seller in over a decade.

White Nights, released in 1985 (in which her role is secondary to those of stars Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines), was trumpeted as Rossellini's movie debut. Her actual first screen appearance, however, came almost a decade earlier in A Matter of Time, which starred her mother. The role was a small one, as a nurse; it is of interest mostly for her character's name, Sister Pia—Rossellini's older half sister is, of course, Pia Lindstrom (by Bergman's first husband, Dr. Peter Lindstrom). Also before White Nights, Rossellini had a key role in Il Prato, directed by Italy's Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, playing a young clerk in a small Tuscan village who becomes romantically involved with two men.

Rossellini's roles often have been secondary ones. A prime example is Wyatt Earp, in which her character—Big Nosed Kate, sweetheart of Doc Holliday (Dennis Quaid)—seems to evaporate from sight soon after initially appearing on-screen. Even when she does well in a fully conceived role, she finds herself eclipsed by characters (and performers) who are far more charismatic. In Fearless, she is fine as the wife of a plane crash survivor (Jeff Bridges), but she ultimately is outflanked by Bridges and Rosie Pérez (playing another survivor). The latter two have the showcase roles, and give the showcase performances.

But Rossellini was charming and appealing in Cousins, an American remake of Cousin, Cousine, Jean-Charles Tachella's French-language romantic comedy. Her character is married to a womanizer, and has become accustomed to his infidelities. She finds herself attracted to her cousin-by-marriage (Ted Danson), and the two become romantically involved. Had Rossellini been cast in more roles like this, she might have developed into a widely popular leading lady.

Easily Rossellini's best screen work to date may be found in Blue Velvet, directed by David Lynch, with whom she had a long-term relationship. Blue Velvet is a dark and unsettling thriller in which she plays a bored, deranged nightclub singer who is raped by a psychopath (Dennis Hopper). Her presence here was controversial in that she appeared frontally nude. Rossellini also had a role in Lynch's violent, erotic Wild at Heart, playing Perdita Durango, ex-girlfriend of macho but tenderhearted, on-the-lam Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage). But here, too, the foremost female roles are played by other actresses—Laura Dern and Diane Ladd.

—Rob Edelman

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