by HFPA August 2, 2012

      For  forty  years  the  HFPA  has  audio-taped celebrated  actors  and  actresses.  The  world's  largest collection  of  its  kind is  now in  the  Academy  of  Motion  Pictures  Arts  & Sciences  Library.  The  audios  are  fascinating.  To  veteran  stars,  our HFPA  journalists  are  family;  they  banter  with  them and  speak  openly and frankly about  themselves and  their  artistry. 


Isabella Rossellini

When we children were out of control, my mother would say, "Children are merely men and women who haven't yet surrendered to civilization."    I knew my parents were well-known---my mother was Ingrid Bergman and my father was Roberto Rossellini--- but as a child you accept everything around you as normal. I thought every parent was famous.

We  had  a  big  family, lots  of  dogs  and  cats, a  big  warm,very  cheerful  environment. We had  an  open, extended  family with  lots  of  cousins  and  nephews all living  with  us, coming in  and  out.  They'd  stay  for a few  months, move  out  if  they anted,  and  then  come  back.  With  so  many  children  in  the house, hardly  a  month  went by  that  there  wasn't  a  birthday party  filled  with  laughter  and  singing.

And  that's  what  I'm  trying  to  give  to  my  daughter. I want her  to  have  that  same  warmth  and  cheerfulness  that  I  had when  I  grew  up.  After  my  parents  were  divorced  we  lived with  Mother, but  there  was  an  apartment  organized  for  the children  near  my  Father's  house, and  we  stayed  there  all day  long.

We  played  there,  went  to  school  there,  and  then  in  the evening  after  dinner,  we  went  to  Mother's  house.  We  really  didn't  have  any  problems  because  Mother  wanted  us  to  be a  very  open  family. She  talked  to  all  my  father's  ex -wives, and  she  encouraged  us  to  grow  up  without  any  feelings  of  hostility.

I  suppose  we  were  lucky,  because  I'm  been  divorced from  director  Martin  Scorsese and  I'm  separated  from  my  husband,  so  there  is  always  this  kind  of  fear  that  you will  hurt  your  children,  but  we  weren't  hurt.  Both  my  parents  made  a  point  of  trying  to  be  friendly and  open  and  never  fighting  in  front  of  us.  I  didn't  suffer from  the  divorce  because,  for  them,  it  was  important  that we  stayed  innocent.

There  are  days I wish  I  could  return  to my  wonderful  childhood.   

----- Researched and edited by Jack Tewksbury