By  on November 5, 2010

Today, Isabella Rossellini is set to receive an Achievement in Cinema Award from the Savannah Film Festival, which is taking place this week. The festival organizers call her “a cinematic icon” on their Web site and rattle off Rossellini’s list of accomplishments in film, television and beyond (face of Lancôme; “dedicated trainer of Labrador puppies for the blind”). But back in 1976, she was just at the start of her career. WWD caught up with the 24-year-old that December; Rossellini was in New York researching boxing for a series on Italian television. Already, she had interviewed Muhammad Ali in Miami and Sugar Ray Robinson in Los Angeles.

“Isabella has seen the film footage from 150 boxing matches, since 1908 on,” wrote WWD. “She avidly reads books on boxing, as well as the sports columns in the daily newspapers. ‘I’ve become so excited about this subject,’ she admits. ‘All the boxers lives seem so fascinating to me.’”

Asked what she wanted to be when she was younger, Rossellini responded: a maid, fireman or a circus ringmaster. “She still wants to be a ringmaster,” the paper noted, adding that Rossellini only recently began granting interviews. “She has shied from interviews in the past…because she anticipated a barrage of prying questions involving the scandal, which surrounded her mother and father back in the Fifties.” And yet Rossellini was open to discussing the topic with WWD. “I think [my mother and father] were very scared during the scandal,” she said. “But they’ve both never done anything they didn’t want to do, and they will do what they want to, regardless of the consequences. My mother could have had an abortion, after all, but she didn’t. It was hard for her. I think she felt guilty.” As for whether she wanted to be in the limelight, like her parents, Rossellini noted, “It can be scary. Famous people have a lot of pressure around them. I don’t want to be famous only because of my parents. But I do think it’s nice to have people like you, as long as it’s for something you’ve done herself.”

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