When Isabella Rossellini Discovered “Death Becomes Her” Was A Gay Movie

"NOW a warning?"

Isabella Rosselini may be winning top notices for Joy, but we’ll always remember her as the mysterious Lisle von Rhoman from Death Becomes Her.


In an interview with PrideSource, Rosselini, 63, discusses her long and distinguished career, and reflects on doing the Robert Zemeckis-directed black comedy.

Related: Best Movie Ever: “Death Becomes Her”

“When the film came out Robert Zemeckis was so successful after Roger Rabbit and the films that he did at the time were big, big, big. Also, they were family films, so when he did Death Becomes Her he also thought it was going to be a family film.”

She adds that, after doing marketing research, the studio came back and said “Oh, it’s a gay film!”

The film, which has never fully received its due in the mainstream, sees Hollywood legends Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep playing bickering frenemies, who resort to a dangerous potion to remain eternally youthful.


The iconic stars, and issues of beauty, youth and sexual rivalry, make Death Becomes Her a queer classic.

Rosselini welcomes any and all adoration from the gay community, saying she finds it to be “fun.”

“I know there are certain women like Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand who are particularly liked by the gay culture,” she says.

“I know that strong women are liked, and I wonder why strong women and not weak women… Why did you like so much stronger women instead of, like, a housewife?”

Do you have to ask, Isabella?

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