ISABELLA ROSSELLINI Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Isabella Rossellini                                                                 
Birth name: Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini                                 
Born: 18 June 1952 Rome, Italy                                                           
Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini (born June 18, 1952) is an Italian         
actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model. Rossellini is noted for           
her brief career 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.                       
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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 Dutiel in the United States and Carol Alt in Europe.             
While there, in 1990, she was involved in product development for Lancôme's             
fragrance Tresor. 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.                                                     
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. 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. Furthermore, Rossellini is considered a major benefactor of the             
Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society of Bellport, Long Island, where she is a           
part-time resident.                                                                       
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.