Isabella Rossellini

Is your surname Rossellini?

Research the Rossellini family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini

Current Location:: New York, New York, United States
Birthplace: Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Lazio, Italy
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman
Ex-wife of Martin Scorsese and Private
Mother of Private and Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann
Sister of Roberto Ingmar Giusto Giuseppe Rossellini and Ingrid Rossellini
Half sister of Pia Lindström; Marco Romano Rossellini; Private; Gil Rossellini; Raffaella Rossellini and 1 other

Occupation: Actress, filmmaker, author, model, philanthropist
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:
view all 32

Immediate Family

About Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini (born 18 June 1952) is an Italian actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model.

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 has four other siblings from her father's two other marriages: Romano (died at age 9), Renzo, Gil, and Raffaella.

Rossellini was born in Rome, and raised there, as well as in Santa Marinella and Paris. At 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 tissues), and a recovery from that surgery. Consequently, she has permanent incision scars on her back and shin.

At 19, she went to New York, where she attended Finch College while working as a translator and a RAI television reporter. She also appeared intermittently on L'altra Domenica ("The Other Sunday"), a TV show featuring Roberto Benigni. 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 ended, 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.


1. Martin Scorsese (1979–1982)

2. Jonathan Wiedemann (1983–1986)

Domestic partners:

1. David Lynch (1986–1991)

2. Gary Oldman (1994–1996)

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, Denis Piel, 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 tortured nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens in David Lynch's Blue Velvet, a film which proved to be hugely controversial, yet today is recognized as a classic. 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.

In 2008, Rossellini toured the festival circuit, including the Sundance Film Festival, with a series of short films entitled Green Porno, which she wrote and co-directed with Jody Shapiro. Each Green Porno film is two minutes long, and has Rossellini reenacting the mating rituals of various animals.

Based on her success with Green Porno, in 2009 Rossellini headed the judging panel of the first Metropolis Art Prize, an art video contest run by web and mobile video service Babelgum, culminating in a large scale art display across the giant advertising monitors in Times Square.


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 danceDisney 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. Most recently in 2008, 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.

Personal life:

Isabella Rossellini holds dual United States and Italian citizenship.She has a daughter, Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann (born 1983), and an adopted son, Roberto (born 1993).


   * 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)
   * Merlin (1998)
   * Il Cielo cade (2000)
   * Empire (2002)
   * Roger Dodger (2002)
   * The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 1: The Moab Story (2003)
   * The Saddest Music in the World (2003)
   * The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 2: Vaux to the Sea (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)
   * Green Porno (2008)[18]
   * Two Lovers (2009)
   * My Dog Tulip (2009)
   * The Solitude of Prime Numbers (2010)

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, in 'Mom and Pop Art' 1999)
   * Don Quixote (2000)
   * Napoleon (2002)
   * Monte Walsh (2003)
   * Earthsea (2004)
   * Alias (5 episodes, 2004–2005)
   * Filthy Gorgeous (2006)
   * Discovery Atlas: Italy Revealed (2006)
   * Iconoclasts (2006)
   * 30 Rock (2 episodes, 2007)
   * Green Porno (Sundance Channel)-18 episodes (2008–2009)
   * The Phantom (2009)

Theatre credits:

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

view all

Isabella Rossellini's Timeline

June 18, 1952
Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Lazio, Italy
July 26, 1983
New York, NY, United States