This morning, Ellen Kessler is training in her hobby room in the basement, like every other day. Aerobics and stretching are on the 87-year-old’s program. Iron discipline: The show star has stuck to this all his life.

But a phone call about her last will – that’s how much time there has to be. “Bayern won’t allow Alice to be buried in the same urn,” she says indignantly at the beginning of the conversation. The topic of their joint funeral has been in the media for days, it moves them.

“I find it unworthy of how people are treated and their wishes at the end of their lives,” says Ellen Kessler now. It is not the first time that she has been bothered by German cemetery regulations. “We weren’t even allowed to hold our mother’s urn at the funeral. It was carried by a gentleman in a black suit and we had to follow behind,” remembers Kessler. The mother died in 1977 at the age of 69 and lies in the cemetery very close to the villa in Munich-Grünewald that the sisters now live together.

If it were up to them, the sisters would prefer to be buried with their mother and their dog – in the same urn. Her ashes should simply be placed in her mother’s urn, which already contains Yello’s ashes. Yello, this is her mother’s beloved poodle, who came to Ellen and Alice after their death.

How do you come up with such an idea – a shared urn? “Because I’m pragmatic, that would save a lot of space. And we have to be everywhere in the world now. Why not in the cemetery too?” says Ellen Kessler quite matter-of-factly. She finds the German law inflexible: “In Italy it would be seen as more relaxed and easier,” she is sure.

Ellen Kessler gave up her apartment in the lively Trastevere district of Rome a good ten years ago and moved in with Alice in Munich. The Kessler twins are still famous in Italy. When the then 24-year-olds came to Rome in 1961, they immediately conquered the Italian audience with their naturalness and informality. Her ballet dances and sketches are legendary. With their appearances in all the successful television shows of the 60s and 70s, they became icons of Italian variety shows.

The duo made a name for themselves nationally and internationally with musicals and theater roles. They toured the world and mingled with the greats of their time, from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley and Sean Connery to John Wayne. The twins, who were born in Saxony and grew up in Düsseldorf, were in show business for more than 50 years.

Only in the past ten years has things become quieter. “We don’t like to travel so much anymore,” says Ellen Kessler today. There would always be delays or the luggage would not arrive. And so you have time to think about life – and about how you want to end life.

That’s why Ellen and Alice Kessler changed their will again. They have no heirs in the family. “Originally we only wanted to bequeath our assets to Doctors Without Borders and Unicef,” says Kessler, “but we think it’s fairer to consider several organizations.” The CBM Blind Mission, the Paul Klinger Artists’ Social Work and the German Foundation for Patient Protection should now also be considered.

It is important to her “to do something good when you leave this earth,” says Kessler. “I don’t want to get that old. My energy is waning and my desire to live a little too,” she says. She still plays golf, but drives around the course in a go-kart. “You still go far enough to the ball and the hole.”

In the evenings, the twins like to meet up with friends in a restaurant or go to the theater. Is there any sadness there for the stage? “No, we’ve had our time,” says Ellen Kessler, “I’m good at letting go.”