The back-to-back deaths of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher last month has made us think of other Mother/Daughter stars from the Golden Era. Of course the best known duo are Judy and Liza. (Note: No last names needed) But there are others.
Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis, Jayne Mansfield and Mariska Hargitay, Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griffiith come immediately to mind. We’re sure you can come up with other examples.
Here’s a notable one. Although she’s not achieved the success of her mother, Isabella Rossellini (pictured above) followed Ingrid Bergman onto the silver screen. How did they get on as Isabella was growing up? Were things as volatile as in the Fisher-Reynolds relationship?
Inspired by the excellent 2015 documentary Ingrid Bergman In Her Own Words, which concerns her private life including her ways with her own children, we get at least a clue about how Ingrid interacted with her budding actress daughter.
It’s helpful to know that Bergman was married three times: in succession to Dr. Petter Lindstrom, to Italian director Roberto Rossellini and to Swedish theatrical producer Lars Schmidt. Among her affairs was an extended romance with world famous war photographer Robert Capa.
Bergman’s four children by her first two husbands are daughter Pia Lindstrom by the first; and Isotta, Isabella and Roberto by Rossellini. Recounted by each is a series of revealing memories of their famous mother.
It turns out that Bergman was generally an easy-going mom who genuinely enjoyed being with her children. If she had a Prussian streak, it showed itself in her profession. A real pussy cat at home.
Pia Lindstrom is forthcoming in the documentary about her feelings of regret that Ingrid wasn’t around much of the time. The children missed the presence of their mother. (Lindstrom, a former tv newscaster in New York, is easily the most articulate on this general subject).
Something that Isabella appreciated was Bergman’s “sense of adventure,” a powerful if not dominating influence in her life. Bergman never got over the fact that a “simple” Swedish girl could have had the international fame and notoriety that she had. She, to use a cliche, seized the moment.
“Adventure” was also a factor in her love life — she was not unknown to sometimes (not often) express mixed feelings about having had children at all.
Rossellini shares Ingrid’s sense of life as adventure. She became a supermodel by her late 20’s, and made her movie debut as a nun in 1976’s A Matter of Time, costarring her mother and Charles Boyer.
Since then Isabella, who turns 65 in June, has rolled up more than 80 movie and tv credits, perhaps most notably in 1986’s Blue Velvet, directed by former fiance David Lynch. She has also worked her way through two marriages, the first from 1979 to 1982 to director Martin Scorsese.
These days, Rossellini (who has lived in the U.S. since 1979) has immersed herself in various tv projects and “the study of animal behavior.” She lives on a farm on Long Island, N.Y. She has also traveled extensively in connection with festival retrospectives and other public commemorations of her famous mother (who died in 1982).
Frank once was introduced to Rossellini some years back at the Cannes Film Festival. And although she says that in her heart of hearts she was an unabashed “pappa’s girl,” her physical resemblance to her mother was startling.