By: Elizabeth Flynn

​Roberto Rossellini was one of the greatest directors of Italian neorealist cinema of all time. He is famous for movies including ‘Dafne’, ‘The White Ship’, ‘The Ways of Love’, ‘Europa ‘51’, ‘The World Population’, and ‘Rice University’. Here are 15 facts you may not know about this famous director and screenwriter. 

  1. His full name is Roberto Gastone Zeffiro.
  2. He was born in Rome on May 8, 1906.
  3. His mother, Elettra, was a housewife and his father, Giuseppe, owned a construction firm.
  4. His brother, Renzo, scored many of his films.
  5. Rossellini once worked as a film sound maker and learned many of the other jobs involved in filmmaking.
  6. He wasn’t religious but was interested in the ethical teachings of the Church and Christian values.
  7. He made his first documentary in 1937.
  8. ‘The White Ship’ was his first feature film and this was released in 1941. It was filmed using only amateur actors.
  9. He was invited in 1957 by the Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to make a documentary called ‘India’. This was intended to inject some life into the Indian Films Division which was floundering at the time.
  10. In 1973, Rossellini taught for one semester at Yale University in New Haven Connecticut. The course was entitled ‘The Essential Image’.
  11. Rossellini has been married four times. His first wife was Assia Norris who he married in 1934 before his marriage was annulled in 1936. Marcella De Marchis was his wife between 1936 and 1950 when they divorced. He married Ingrid Bergman in 1950 and the couple later divorced in 1957. Roberto Rossellini was married to his fourth wife, Sonali Das Gupta, from 1957 until his death in 1977.
  12. He is the father of Isabella Rossellini, a famous actress, author, and model. Isabella’s mother is Ingrid Bergman.
  13. He has five other children including Isabella’s twin sister, Isotta Ingrid. One of his children is a stepdaughter and another is an adopted stepson.
  14. One of his sons, Marco Romano, died from appendicitis at the age of 8.
  15. On June 3, 1977, Rossellini died of a heart attack in Rome. 

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