Isabella Rossellini

Posted March 19, 2009 in

For lovers of the silver screen legends who reigned during the late 1930s through ’40s—of whom there are almost none still alive—it’s always thrilling when one of their children is willing to talk about them, especially if they have nice things to say. Bette Davis and Marlene Dietrich’s daughters certainly have no kind words about their mothers, Kate Hepburn had no children and Christina Crawford’s been off the list for years. But the one silver screen offspring who’s never been anything other than radiant, charming and personable is Ingrid Bergman’s daughter, Isabella Rossellini.

Perhaps it’s because Rossellini was raised right—and lovingly. Perhaps it’s also because she’s never seemed to be in the shadow of her parents (her father was director Roberto Rossellini), always staking out her own territory with her own unique voice. It’s quite possible she would have been famous without her illustrious birthright, in fact, since she’s a wonderful actress in her own right, not to mention a phenomenal beauty. A revisit to some of her work is proof in the pudding: the tumultuous White Nights (her first American film in 1985); the art house classic, Blue Velvet; the underrated Siesta; a sizzling and hilarious turn with Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her; and memorable parts in Fearless and Immortal Beloved that just left us wanting more. She’s also done the small screen circuit, receiving both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, and is a passionate activist for wildlife preservation, guide dogs for the blind, UNICEF and for film preservation.


Of course, no matter what she accomplishes, Rossellini probably knows the questions everyone is secretly dying to ask her are about her parents, her upbringing, and what it was like to have such a stunning and magnanimous mother. Fortunately, Rossellini is not only secure enough to tell us, but seems to feel it’s an honor—this evening she’ll not only recall personal stories but share photos and film footage. For we who long for the golden age, this is about as close at it gets.  (Stacy Davies)  


Isabella Rossellini, My Mother, My Father and Me: A Life of Humor, Curiosity and Adventure, at the McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts, 73000 Fred Waring Dr., Palm Desert, (760) 340-2787; Tues., Mar. 24, 8pm; $45-$85


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