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Isabella Rossellini


Birth name:

Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini




Rome, Italy



Race or Ethnicity:


Sexual orientation:



Actress, Model



Executive summary:

Blue Velvet, Big Night


5' 8" (1.73 m)


Isabella Rossellini - Pictures

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Isabella Rossellini - Biography


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.

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. Incidentally, her daughter, Elettra, also developed scoliosis when she was a child.

At the age of 19, she came to New York, where she worked as a translator 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 German model (now a Microsoft executive), and gave birth to a daughter, Elettra. Later, she dated David Lynch, Gary Oldman, and Gregory Mosher.

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 Duteil 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.

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.

Beginning 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.

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. In 2007, Rossellini guest starred on two episodes of the television show 30 Rock, playing Alec Baldwin's ex-wife.

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. 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. In fact, Disney gave $100,000 to her to help with her conservation efforts in those two organizations. She has also helped with the Central Park Conservancy.

Rossellini is also involved in training guide dogs for the blind. 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. She is also a National Ambassador for the U.S. 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. Most recently, Rossellini has put pen to paper for a number of television shorts on the Sundance Channel called Green Porno. The short segments (about 1 minute each) are written, hosted and acted out by Rossellini and take the audience inside the sexuality of mother nature herself. In addition to writing for Green Porno the series, Rossellini also penned a book to accompany the third season. The book is a multimedia experiment, and contains a companion DVD, both of which serve as additional information for the series' third season.

Isabella Rossellini holds dual United States and Italian citizenship. She has a daughter, Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann (born 1983), and an adopted son, Roberto (born 1992).


Isabella Rossellini - Personal Quotes


"If you go to a therapist, they say, 'Are you sure? How do you feel about your wrinkles?' And I say, 'I don't know, because I don't really see them.' I see my hands, but I don't see my face, so it's not a torment. I only see it for five minutes in the morning when I brush my teeth! When you read women's magazines you always read about this drama of getting old, about anti-aging cream and plastic surgery and whatever else. But I think if you're independent, like I have grown to be, it's welcome."

"When I was hot as a model, I always knew my entire schedule for the next eight months in advance, every moment was planned and filled. And this lasted for 10 years!"

"There is no question for me about the Electra complex. You know, exaggerated love of the father - I have it, or some version. I loved my mother, but I was my dad's girl."

"There's nothing wrong with modeling, except that it doesn't last. I had the stereotype most people have, that it's stupid, but it wasn't stupid at all. I loved spending a day with Richard Avedon. People who are so artistic, so intelligent -- you are interpreting what they are trying to express. You have taken a trip into this brain, you are a tourist in this fantastically interesting brain. People always say to me that I do such strange films, but it's not that I'm looking for something so different necessarily, it's simply that I meet a person who strikes me as intelligent and interesting and I want to take a trip into their brain."

"I like to see a film where I don't need to look at the titles to know who did it, where one image is enough to say this is David Lynch, this is Alfred Hitchcock, this is Spike Lee."


Isabella Rossellini - Filmography


Late Bloomers (2011) .... Mary
Deauville (2010) .... Florence
La solitudine dei numeri primi (2010) .... Fernanda
... aka The Solitude of Prime Numbers (International: English title)
The Phantom (2009) (TV)
Flat Love (2009) (voice) .... Narrator
My Dog Tulip (2008)
The Accidental Husband (2007) .... Mrs. Bollenbecker
"30 Rock" .... Bianca Donaghy (2 episodes, 2007)
- Up All Night (2007) TV Episode .... Bianca Donaghy
- Black Tie (2007) TV Episode .... Bianca Donaghy
Infamous (2006) .... Marella Agnelli
The Architect (2006) .... Julia Waters
Filthy Gorgeous (2006) (TV)
Fiesta del chivo, La (2005) .... Urania
... aka The Feast of the Goat (International: English title)
"Alias" .... Katya Derevko (5 episodes, 2004-2005)
- The Descent (2005) TV Episode .... Katya Derevko
- Pandora (2005) TV Episode .... Katya Derevko
- Resurrection (2004) TV Episode .... Katya Derevko
- Legacy (2004) TV Episode .... Katya Derevko
- Crossings (2004) TV Episode .... Katya Derevko
Earthsea (2004) (TV) .... High Priestess Thar
... aka Legend of Earthsea (USA: promotional title)
Heights (2004) .... Liz
King of the Corner (2004) .... Rachel Spivak
The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 2: Vaux to the Sea (2004) .... Mme. Moitessier
The Saddest Music in the World (2003) .... Lady Helen Port-Huntley
The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 1: The Moab Story (2003) .... Mme. Moitessier
... aka Maletas de Tulse Luper: La historia de Moab, Las (Spain)
... aka Valigie di Tulse Luper - La storia di Moab, Le (Italy)
Monte Walsh (2003) (TV) .... 'Countess' Martine
"Napoléon" (2002) (mini) TV Series .... Joséphine de Beauharnais
... aka Napoleon (Europe: English title)
Roger Dodger (2002) .... Joyce
Empire (2002) .... La Colombiana
Cielo cade, Il (2000) .... Katchen
... aka The Sky Is Falling (USA: DVD title)
... aka The Sky Will Fall (International: English title)
Don Quixote (2000) (TV) .... The Duchess
"The Simpsons" .... Astrid Weller (1 episode, 1999)
- Mom and Pop Art (1999) TV Episode (voice) .... Astrid Weller
The Impostors (1998) .... The Veiled Queen
Merlin (1998/II) (TV) .... Nimue
Left Luggage (1998) .... Mrs. Kalman
... aka 2 koffers vol (Netherlands)
The Odyssey (1997) (TV) .... Athena
... aka Abenteuer des Odysseus, Die (Germany)
... aka Homer's Odyssey
... aka Odysseia (Greece)
"Chicago Hope" .... Prof. Marina Giannini (2 episodes, 1997)
- Mother, May I? (1997) TV Episode .... Prof. Marina Giannini
- Missed Conception (1997) TV Episode .... Prof. Marina Giannini
Crime of the Century (1996) (TV) .... Anna Hauptmann
The Funeral (1996) .... Clara Tempio
Big Night (1996) .... Gabriella
Goosebumps: Escape from Horrorland (1996) (VG)
"Tales from the Crypt" .... Betty Spinelli (1 episode, 1995)
... aka HBO's Tales from the Crypt
- You, Murderer (1995) TV Episode .... Betty Spinelli
Croce e delizia (1995) .... Henriette
Immortal Beloved (1994) .... Anna Marie Erdödy
The Gift (1994) (TV)
Wyatt Earp (1994) .... Big Nose Kate
Fearless (1993) .... Laura Klein
The Innocent (1993) .... Maria
... aka ...und der Himmel steht still (Germany)
"Fallen Angels" .... Babe Lonsdale (1 episode, 1993)
- The Frightening Frammis (1993) TV Episode .... Babe Lonsdale
The Pickle (1993) (uncredited) .... Planet Cleveland Woman
... aka The Adventures of the Flying Pickle (UK: video title)
Death Becomes Her (1992) .... Lisle von Rhoman
Lies of the Twins (1991) (TV) .... Rachel Marks
Caccia alla vedova (1991) .... Rosanna
... aka Assedio di Venezia, L' (Italy)
... aka Diable à quatre, Le (France)
... aka Osada Venetsii (Soviet Union: Russian title)
... aka The Siege of Venice (International: English title)
... aka Widow Hunt (informal literal title)
Dames galantes (1990) .... Victoire
... aka Donne di piacere (Italy)
... aka Gallant Ladies
... aka Romantic Ladies (Canada: English title)
Ivory Hunters (1990) (TV) .... Maria DiConti
... aka The Last Elephant
Wild at Heart (1990) .... Perdita Durango
... aka David Lynch's Wild at Heart (USA)
"The Tracey Ullman Show" .... Mae / ... (3 episodes, 1989-1990)
- Ginny Eats Escrow (1990) TV Episode .... Mae
- My Date with Il Duce (1989) TV Episode .... Ilenia
- ...And God Created Tillman (1989) TV Episode .... Mae
Red Riding Hood (1989) .... Lady Jean
... aka Cannon Movie Tales: Red Riding Hood
Cousins (1989) .... Maria Hardy
... aka A Touch of Infidelity (Europe: English title)
Zelly and Me (1988) .... Mademoiselle Zelly
... aka Phoebe
Siesta (1987) .... Marie
Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987) .... Madeleine Regency
Oci ciornie (1987) (uncredited) .... La Signora
... aka Dark Eyes (International: English title)
... aka Ochi chyornye
Blue Velvet (1986) .... Dorothy Vallens
White Nights (1985) .... Darya Greenwood
Pap'occhio, Il (1980) .... Isabella
... aka In the Pope's Eye
Prato, Il (1979) .... Eugenia
... aka The Meadow
A Matter of Time (1976) .... Sister Pia
... aka Nina (Italy)


Isabella Rossellini  - Related Links

Wikipedia: Isabella Rossellini
YouTube: Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini





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