Madeleine Stowe

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Madeleine Stowe
Stowe in 2008
Madeleine Marie Stowe Mora

(1958-08-18) August 18, 1958 (age 65)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
Years active1978–present
(m. 1982)

Madeleine Marie Stowe Mora (born August 18, 1958)[1] is an American actress. She appeared mostly on television before her role in the 1987 crime-comedy film Stakeout. She went on to star in the films Revenge (1990), Unlawful Entry (1992), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Blink (1993), 12 Monkeys (1995), The General's Daughter (1999), and We Were Soldiers (2002). For her role in the 1993 independent film Short Cuts, she won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress.

From 2011 to 2015, Stowe starred as Victoria Grayson, the main antagonist of the ABC drama series Revenge. For this role, she was nominated for the 2012 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama.

Early life[edit]

Stowe, the first of three children, was born at the Queen of Angels Hospital,[2] in Los Angeles, California,[3] and raised in Eagle Rock, a section of Los Angeles. Her father, Robert Stowe, was a civil engineer from Oregon, while her mother, Mireya (née Mora Steinvorth), came from a prominent family in Costa Rica.[4][5][6] One of Stowe's maternal great-great-grandfathers, politician José Joaquín Mora Porras, was a younger brother of President Juan Rafael Mora Porras, who governed Costa Rica from 1849 to 1859. Another maternal great-great-grandfather, Bruno Carranza, was briefly President of that country in 1870 (he resigned three months after taking office); his wife, Stowe's great-great-grandmother Gerónima Montealegre, was the sister of President José María Montealegre Fernández, who governed Costa Rica from 1859 to 1863, and himself the son of his country's first Vice Head of State Mariano Montealegre Bustamante, himself the half brother of Mariano Montealegre y Romero, the founder of the Montealegre family branch in Nicaragua.

Stowe's father suffered from multiple sclerosis, and she accompanied him to all his medical treatments,[7][8] She originally aspired to become a concert pianist, taking lessons between the ages of ten and eighteen. She later explained that playing the piano was a means to escape having to socialize with other children her age. Her Russian-born music teacher, Sergei Tarnowsky, had faith in Stowe, even teaching her from his deathbed. Following his death at the age of 92, she quit, later commenting, "I just felt it was time to not be by myself anymore."

Acting career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Not being especially interested in her college classes, she volunteered to do performances at the Solaris, a Beverly Hills theater, where a movie agent saw her in a play and got her several offers of appearances in TV and films. In 1978, she made her debut in an episode in the police drama series Baretta, followed by a string of TV work with guest appearances on The Amazing Spider-Man, Barnaby Jones and Little House on the Prairie. In 1978, she played a leading role as Mary in the television movie, The Nativity (1978).[9] She starred in two NBC miniseries: Beulah Land (1980) and The Gangster Chronicles (1981), which starred Brian Benben, her future husband. She also starred in several television films, such as Amazons (1984) and Blood & Orchids (1986).

Breakthrough and film career[edit]

Madeleine Stowe in 2002

In 1987, Stowe appeared in her first breakthrough role in the feature film Stakeout with Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez.[9] The film debuted at No.1 at the box office.[10][11] In 1988, she played a leading role in Ciro Durán's film Tropical Snow, with David Carradine. She co-starred with Mark Harmon in the comedy Worth Winning, with Kevin Costner in the 1989 thriller Revenge, and opposite Jack Nicholson in 1990 in The Two Jakes. She played a leading role in the 1991 independent film Closet Land.[12]

In 1992, she appeared opposite Kurt Russell in the crime drama Unlawful Entry.[13] That same year, Stowe played Cora Munro in The Last of the Mohicans, which also starred Daniel Day-Lewis. Her critically acclaimed performance in the film, which grossed more than $75 million worldwide, elevated Stowe from supporting player to an A-list movie star.[9][14] The next year, director Robert Altman cast Stowe in the award-winning ensemble cast movie Short Cuts, where she gave one of her most acclaimed screen performances as the wife of a compulsively lying and adulterous police officer played by Tim Robbins. She won the National Society of Film Critics Awards for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe Award and a Volpi Cup for Best Ensemble Cast for her performance in the movie.[citation needed] She also made a cameo appearance in Stakeout's sequel Another Stakeout.[9] The following year, Stowe played a leading role as a blind musician in the thriller Blink, in the neo-noir thriller China Moon, and in the Western Bad Girls.[14] The year after that, she was a sympathetic psychiatrist in the financially successful and critically lauded science-fiction movie 12 Monkeys. Stowe received a Saturn Awards nomination for this performance.[citation needed]

Madeleine Stowe in 2008

In 1994 Stowe was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World".[9][15] In 1995, Stowe was chosen by Empire as one of the "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History".[citation needed]

Stowe postponed her acting career in 1996 to concentrate on her family life. She settled for several years in a Texas ranch, with her daughter May and husband Brian Benben.[16] In 1998, she came back with The Proposition and Playing by Heart, and then The General's Daughter, opposite John Travolta in 1999.[14] In 2001, she starred in the science-fiction box office bomb Impostor.[17] In 2002, she played Julia Moore in the war film We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson, and the box office flop action-comedy Avenging Angelo opposite Sylvester Stallone.[14] In 2003, she starred in the thriller Octane as Senga Wilson, a single mother trying to save her teenage daughter (Mischa Barton) from a bizarre cult obsessed with blood and cars.

Recent years[edit]

Stowe's onscreen appearances became increasingly rare in the 2000s, as she focused on motherhood. She later stated in an interview : "I never thought, 'I'm retiring,' but I didn't feel that 'thing' revving in me. I was much more focused on May. It was frustrating at times, but now I see how she's turned out, I wouldn't have it any other way."[16] She occasionally appeared in some TV productions, such as Saving Milly, an adaptation of Morton Kondracke's book of the same name, of a woman diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.[18] Stowe starred in the not-picked-up Fox pilot Southern Comfort about a woman who takes over her mobster husband's business when he gets sent to prison.[19] In 2007, she appeared in the recurring role of Dr. Samantha Kohl in Jeff Goldblum's detective drama Raines on NBC, a mid-season replacement. The series was canceled after two months. In 2009 she starred in the Lifetime movie, The Christmas Hope.[14]

Stowe at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival

In 2011, Stowe announced her return and began playing Victoria Grayson, the glamorous and powerful matriarch of the Grayson family, on ABC's television drama series Revenge.[20][21] It debuted on September 21, and was picked up for a full season by ABC on October 13.[22] Stowe's portrayal of the character received critical praise,[23] and she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for this role.[24] In April 2012, she was listed at No. 5 in People magazine's annual Most Beautiful Woman list.[25][26] The series ended in 2015 after four seasons and 89 episodes.

In May and June 2016, Stowe guest hosted primetime films on Turner Classic Movies, appearing in dozens of wraparounds on the channel. In 2019, she returned to acting starring as actress Margot Weston in the Netflix musical drama series, Soundtrack.[27] The series was canceled after one season.[28]

Personal life[edit]

In 1982, Stowe married Brian Benben, whom she met on the set of the NBC miniseries The Gangster Chronicles the previous year. Now living in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, they have lived on a ranch west of Austin, near Fredericksburg, Texas.[29][2][30]

In 2008, Stowe traveled to Haiti and helped found Artists for Peace and Justice. She is on the board of directors of the foundation.[31][32]



Year Title Role Notes
1981 Gangster Wars Ruth Lasker
1987 Stakeout Maria McGuire
1988 Tropical Snow Marina
1989 Worth Winning Veronica Briskow
1990 Revenge Miryea Mendez
The Two Jakes Lillian Bodine
1991 Closet Land Victim
1992 Unlawful Entry Karen Carr
The Last of the Mohicans Cora Munro
1993 Another Stakeout Maria McGuire Uncredited cameo
Short Cuts Sherri Shepard
1994 China Moon Rachel Munro
Blink Emma Brody
Bad Girls Cody Zamora
1995 12 Monkeys Kathryn Railly
1998 The Proposition Eleanor Barret
Playing by Heart Gracie
1999 The General's Daughter Warr. Off. Sara Sunhill
2001 Impostor Maya Olham
2002 We Were Soldiers Julia Moore
Avenging Angelo Jennifer Barrett Allieghieri
2003 Octane Senga Wilson aka Pulse


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Baretta Anna Episode: "The Marker"
1978 The Amazing Spider-Man Maria Calderon Episode: "Escort to Danger"
1978 The Nativity Mary, mother of Jesus Movie
1978 The Deerslayer Hetty Hutter Movie
1979 Barnaby Jones Diane Episode: "School of Terror"
1980 Beulah Land Selma Kendrick Davis Miniseries
1980 Little House on the Prairie Annie Crane Episode: "Portrait of Love"
1981 Trapper John, M.D. Cassie Episode: "Creepy Time Gal"
1981 The Gangster Chronicles Ruth Lasker Miniseries
1984 Amazons Dr. Sharon Fields Movie
1986 Blood & Orchids Hester Ashley Murdoch Movie
2002 The Magnificent Ambersons Isabel Amberson Minafer Movie
2005 Saving Milly Milly Martinez Movie
2006 Southern Comfort Charlotte Pilot
2007 Raines Dr. Samantha Kohl 5 episodes
2009 The Christmas Hope Patricia Addison Movie
2011–2015 Revenge Victoria Grayson 89 episodes
2016 12 Monkeys Lillian Episode: "Memory of Tomorrow"
2019 Soundtrack Margot Weston 10 episodes
2025 Welcome to Derry TBA [33]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
1993 Venice Film Festival Special Volpi Cup for Best Ensemble Cast Short Cuts Recipient
1994 National Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actress Won
Golden Globe Awards Special Award for Ensemble Cast (non-competitive) Recipient
1996 Sci-Fi Universe Magazine, USA Best Actress in a Genre Motion Picture 12 Monkeys Won
Saturn Awards Best Actress Nominated
2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actress - Suspense The General's Daughter Nominated
ALMA Awards Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film Nominated
2003 American Veterans Center Best Actress We Were Soldiers Won
2005 Imagen Awards Best Actress Saving Milly Won
2012 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Revenge Nominated
ALMA Awards Favorite TV Actress – Drama Nominated
2013 TV Guide Awards Favorite Villain Nominated
2014 Keck School of Medicine of USC Humanitarian Award[34] Won


  1. ^ "Madeleine Stowe". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Wallace, Amy (February 1, 2012). "Madeleine Stowe". Los Angeles magazine. Archived from the original on August 27, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  3. ^ Jackson, Vannessa (May 17, 2016). "Madeleine Stowe". Hollywood Life. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  4. ^ "The Leading Madeleine Online Site on the Net". Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  5. ^ "Search Results". Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  6. ^ "Madeleine Stowe's Second Act | MORE Magazine". Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  7. ^ "The Trip to Bankable", Los Angeles Times, January 30, 1994.
  8. ^ "Madeleine Stowe on Caring For Someone With MS". NewLifeOutlook | Multiple Sclerosis. October 23, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Biography for Madeleine Stowe". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  10. ^ "Stakeout' Ranks No. 1 In Box-Office Sales". The New York Times. September 2, 1987. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  11. ^ "Stakeout in First Place In Week's Ticket Sales". The New York Times. August 27, 1987. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  12. ^ Closet Land (1990), AllRovi.
  13. ^ Unlawful Entry, Box Office Mojo.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Madeleine Stowe- Biography". Yahoo!. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  15. ^ "The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World". People magazine. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  16. ^ a b Madeleine Stowe: Best Revenge, People, December 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "Impostor - boxofficemojo". Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  18. ^ TELEVISION REVIEW When the Course of True Love Is Derailed by Disease, March 12, 2005, The New York Times.
  19. ^ IN OTHER FALL PILOT NEWS..., Feb 27, 2006, TV Guide.
  20. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 15, 2011). "Madeleine Stowe Among Latest Pilot Castings". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  21. ^ "Revenge on ABC". ABC. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  22. ^ Ausiello, Michael (October 13, 2011). "Breaking: ABC Orders Full Seasons of Revenge and Suburgatory". TVLine. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  23. ^ "The New Queen of Mean: Madeleine Stowe of 'Revenge'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 8, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  24. ^ "Golden Globes nominations: 'The Artist' leads pack of nominees". Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  25. ^ PEOPLE's 2012 World's Most Beautiful Woman, People, Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  26. ^ Madeleine Stowe Shares Mom's Best Beauty Advice, People, April 17, 2012, Retrieved April 25, 2012.
  27. ^ Petski, Denise; Andreeva, Nellie (February 16, 2018). "'Mixtape': Madeleine Stowe To Co-Star In Fox Musical Drama Pilot". Deadline Hollywood.
  28. ^ Petski, Denise (January 31, 2020). "'Soundtrack' Canceled After One Season At Netflix". Deadline Hollywood.
  29. ^ "Tree Crushes Actress Madeleine Stowe's Car in Pacific Palisades".
  30. ^ Macor, Alison (June 1999). "Madeleine in the Hill Country". Texas Monthly. Archived from the original on August 14, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  31. ^ "abc News". ABC News. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  32. ^ "The Team - Artists For Peace And Justice web site". Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  33. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 14, 2023). "Max 'It' Prequel Series 'Welcome To Derry' Welcomes Madeleine Stowe & Stephen Rider". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  34. ^ "Twitter / USCHealthNews: Actress Madeleine Stowe takes". Retrieved June 4, 2014.

External links[edit]