Michael Madsen

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Michael Madsen
Michael Madsen by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Born (1958-09-25) September 25, 1958 (age 58)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Other names Maykl Madsen, The Mafia Man
Occupation Actor, producer, director, writer, poet, photographer
Years active 1982–present
Spouse(s) Jeannine Bisignano (divorced)
Georganne LaPiere (divorced)
Partner(s) DeAnna Madsen (1996–present)
Children 5
Parent(s) Elaine Madsen (mother)
Relatives Virginia Madsen (sister)
Website michaelmadsen.com

Michael Søren Madsen (born September 25, 1958)[1] is an American actor, producer, director, writer, poet and photographer. He starred in feature films including Thelma & Louise, Reservoir Dogs, Wyatt Earp, Free Willy, Species, Donnie Brasco, Sin City, Kill Bill and The Hateful Eight. He guest starred in numerous television series, and is also credited with voice work in several video games, including Grand Theft Auto III, True Crime: Streets of L.A., Dishonored, Dishonored 2, DRIV3R, The Walking Dead: Season Two and Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

Early life[edit]

Madsen was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Elaine Madsen (née Melson), a filmmaker and author, and Calvin Madsen, a firefighter.[2] His parents divorced in the 1960s, and his mother left a career in finance to pursue a career in the arts, encouraged by film critic Roger Ebert. His siblings are Cheryl Madsen, an entrepreneur, and Academy Award-nominated actress Virginia Madsen.[3] Madsen's father was Danish, while his mother is of English, German, Irish, Native American and Scottish ancestry.[4]


Madsen as a senior in high school, 1975

Madsen's acting career began at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, where he served as an apprentice under actor John Malkovich. In 1982, Madsen made his debut role for an independent film Against All Hope. He then played a small role in the studio picture WarGames in 1983. That same year, he appeared in a bit part in Edward Zwick's 1983 television movie Special Bulletin. Soon after, Madsen was cast as a psychopathic gunman who took Mary Beth hostage in the Cagney and Lacey episode "Heat", which aired October 22, 1984. He moved to Los Angeles and appeared in other films, including as arrogant baseball player Bump Bailey in The Natural (1984), a deranged killer in Kill Me Again (1989), and as the tough but touching boyfriend in Thelma & Louise (1991).

He played the razor-wielding, sadistic ex-con and jewel thief "Mr. Blonde" in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. The film brought Madsen attention among critics and fans. Madsen starred in other films, including Free Willy, Mulholland Falls, Wyatt Earp, Species and the critically acclaimed Donnie Brasco. He was unable to play the role of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction as he couldn't get out of rehearsals for Wyatt Earp, which he had just decided to do. The role instead went to John Travolta, relaunching his career.

Madsen in 2006

Since the mid-1990s, Madsen appeared in lower-budget films released direct-to-video or television. Notable exceptions include his featured role in Tarantino's Kill Bill, in the James Bond adventure Die Another Day and in the film version of the Frank Miller graphic novel Sin City. He appeared in Scary Movie 4 in 2006 parodying Tim Robbins's character from War of the Worlds. He was also in the film 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out in 2003.

Madsen in 2010

In 2004, Tarantino discussed an idea for a movie starring Madsen and John Travolta as The Vega Brothers.[5] The film would have seen Madsen and Travolta reprising their roles as Vic (Mr. Blonde) from Reservoir Dogs and Vincent from Pulp Fiction. However, in 2007, because of the age of the actors and the onscreen deaths of both characters, Tarantino said the project (which he intended to call Double V Vega) was "kind of unlikely now".[6]

In 2008, Madsen had a starring role as "The Gent" in Hell Ride, written and directed by Larry Bishop and executive produced by Tarantino. Madsen has been in television series, including the short-lived Vengeance Unlimited and as "Don Everest" in the poker-themed ESPN series Tilt. He was in Michael Jackson's 2001 music video "You Rock My World" and has provided voice work for several video games, including Grand Theft Auto III, True Crime: Streets of L.A. and DRIV3R. He provided voice work for the movie version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as Maugrim the wolf, captain of the White Witch's secret police.

He also provides narration for Animal Planet and is heard in the PlayStation 2 game Yakuza, where he voices the role of Futo Shimano, the violent and unforgiving leader of a Yakuza family. Madsen played Sam Spade in Yuri Rasovsky's Grammy-nominated sonic dramatization of The Maltese Falcon, which also features Sandra Oh and Edward Herrmann. In August 2008, Madsen co-starred in Coma, a Web series on Crackle.[7] Madsen went to Mexico City to co-star in the 2009 boxing film The Kid: Chamaco with Martin Sheen and Kirk Harris for director Miguel Necoechea. In September 2009, he filmed the comedy feature Magic Boys in England and Hungary, co-starring with Vinnie Jones, directed by Robert Koltai and written by screenwriter Ivo Marloh. The film was scheduled for general release in late 2012.

Madsen guest-starred in the final season of 24 in April 2010. He played Jim Ricker, an old friend of main character Jack Bauer.[8] Let the Game Begin, opened in May 2010.[9] The film also features Adam Rodriguez and Stephen Baldwin. Madsen played the lead role in the independent horror film Infected.[10] He is one of the stars in the western thriller The Sorrow with Kirk Harris, John Savage, newcomer Ryan Ballance and Yvonne Delarosa.

On 5 January 2012, Madsen entered the Celebrity Big Brother house. He finished in 4th place in the final of Celebrity Big Brother. In February 2014, filming in Las Vegas was completed for the movie Death in the Desert, directed by Josh Evans and starring Madsen as casino mogul Ted Binion (named Ray in the film), Shayla Beesley as Sandra Murphy (played as Kim), Binion's live-in girlfriend, and Paz de la Huerta as Kim's friend Margo.[11][12] The screenplay was written by John Steppling, based on the book Death in the Desert by crime writer Cathy Scott.[13] The film premiered at the Tucson Film Festival on October 9, 2015. Distribution was scheduled for 2016 by Osiris Entertainment.[14]

In August 2014, he starred in the Kill Bill-themed music video by Iggy Azalea for the song "Black Widow," featuring Rita Ora.[15] In 2015, Madsen collaborated once more with Tarantino for the mystery film The Hateful Eight.

In 2016, he played a dramatized role of former Texas Ranger Phil Ryan in Real Detective on the Investigation Discovery network.

Personal life[edit]

Madsen has five sons. One of them, Christian Madsen, is also an actor.[16]

In 2002, Madsen was presented an award for his work with the Shriners Hospital for Children, and he gave his casting director friend Bruno Rosato a Porsche 928. In September 2009, Madsen announced his participation in the Love Ride 26[17] to help raise money for local charities and those less fortunate. Love Ride began in 1981 and has included celebrities Malcolm Forbes, Peter Fonda, and Larry Hagman with musical entertainment from Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, and others. The event was to have taken place on October 25, 2009 but was canceled two weeks before the event due to poor ticket sales and a decline in sponsorship and vendor support.

Madsen has done several films with Daryl Hannah. They include Kill Bill, The Last Days of Frankie the Fly, Shannon's Rainbow, Vice, Eldorado, as well as the film Garbage, in which they play friends called Daryl and Michael. Hannah took part in the 2007 fictional documentary Being Michael Madsen.

Madsen was close friends with actor Chris Penn, and was a pallbearer at his funeral in 2006.[18]

Madsen also has a line of hot sauces.[19]


Madsen has been writing since the early 1990s. Madsen began his writing on match books, napkins and hotel stationery in between his time working on movie sets and traveling around the world. In 2005, 13 Hands Publications compiled all of his poetry and released The Complete Poetic Works of Michael Madsen, Vol I: 1995–2005. The original books released were Beer, Blood and Ashes (1995), Eat the Worm (1995), Burning in Paradise (1998), and the now out-of-print A Blessing of the Hounds (2002), 46 Down; A Book of Dreams and Other Ramblings (2004) and When Pets Kill (2005).

Madsen's friend and fellow actor Dennis Hopper described his poetry as a throwback to the Beat Generation: "I like him better than Kerouac: raunchier, more poignant, he's got street language, images I can relate to, blows my mind with his drifts of gut-wrenching riffs; this actor is a poet and he is cool, of course, he is Michael Madsen."[citation needed] Madsen has noted influences for his style of poetry as being Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski.

In 2008, Madsen was invited and appeared in Norway for the Norwegian translation and release of Burning In Paradise. In November 2010, he was the guest of honor for his poetry at the Crossing Border Festival at The Hague.

Another book of poetry, American Badass, was released on September 25, 2009. Madsen dedicated the book to the memory of his friend and Kill Bill co-star David Carradine.

His latest book, Expecting Rain, was released in October 2013 with an introduction by Jerry Hopkins.


Madsen is also an accomplished photographer. In 2006, he released his first book of photography entitled Signs of Life, published by 13 Hands Publications, which also contains new selections of his poetry. He dedicated the book to the memory of his friend and fellow actor Chris Penn, who starred with Madsen in Reservoir Dogs and Mulholland Falls.


  • Won Independent Firecracker Award for his book of poetry "Burning In Paradise" (1998).
  • Red Hen Press awarded Madsen with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his Complete Poetic Works in 2006.
  • September 20, 2007 won "Best Actor" award at the 23rd Annual Boston Film Festival for his role as Sean Kelleher in Strength and Honour.
  • Madsen won the 9th Annual Malibu International Film Festival award on April 6, 2008.
  • Madsen won "Best Supporting Actor" (from movie Along the Roadside) at the IFS Film Festival in Beverly Hills in March 2013.



Year Title Role Director Notes
1982 Against All Hope Cecil Moe Edward T. McDougal
1983 WarGames Steve Phelps John Badham
1984 Racing with the Moon Frank Richard Benjamin
1984 The Natural Bartholomew "Bump" Bailey Barry Levinson
1987 The Killing Time Stu Rick King
1988 Iguana Sebastián Monte Hellman
1988 Shadows in the Storm Earl Terrell Tannen
1989 Blood Red Enzio Peter Masterson
1989 Kill Me Again Vince Miller John Dahl
1990 The End of Innocence Earl Dyan Cannon
1991 The Doors Tom Baker Oliver Stone
1991 Thelma & Louise Jimmy Lennox Ridley Scott
1992 Reservoir Dogs Mr. Blonde / Vic Vega Quentin Tarantino
1992 Straight Talk Steve Barnet Kellman
1993 Trouble Bound Harry Talbot Jeffrey Reiner
1993 Free Willy Glen Greenwood Simon Wincer
1993 Money for Nothing Detective Laurenzi Ramón Menéndez
1993 A House in the Hills Mickey Ken Wiederhorn
1994 The Getaway Rudy Travis Roger Donaldson
1994 Blue Tiger Gun Salesman Norberto Barba Uncredited
1994 Final Combination Detective Matt Dickson Nigel Dick
1994 Wyatt Earp Virgil Earp Lawrence Kasdan
1994 Felidae Bluebeard (voice) Michael Schaack English version
1995 Species Preston "Press" Lennox Roger Donaldson
1995 Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home Glen Greenwood Dwight H. Little
1995 Man with a Gun John Wilbur Hardin David Wyles
1996 Mulholland Falls Eddie Hall Lee Tamahori
1996 The Winner Wolf Alex Cox
1996 The Last Days of Frankie the Fly Sal Peter Markle
1997 Donnie Brasco Sonny Black Mike Newell
1997 The Maker Skarney Tim Hunter
1998 Surface to Air Gunnery Sergeant Zach Massin Rodney McDonald
1998 Species II Preston "Press" Lennox Peter Medak
1999 The Florentine Whitey Nick Stagliano
2000 The Alternate Agent Jack Briggs Sam Firstenberg
2002 Die Another Day Damian Falco Lee Tamahori
2003 Pauly Shore Is Dead Himself Pauly Shore
2003 My Boss's Daughter T.J. David Zucker
2003 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 Budd Quentin Tarantino Nominated – Awards Circuit Community Awards for Best Cast Ensemble
2004 Blueberry Wallace Sebastian Blount Jan Kounen
2004 Kill Bill: Vol. 2 Budd Quentin Tarantino Italian Online Movie Award for Best Cast
2005 Sin City Detective Bob Frank Miller,
Robert Rodriguez,
Quentin Tarantino
Nominated – Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated – Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated – Gold Derby Film Award for Ensemble Cast
2005 Chasing Ghosts Kevin Harrison Kyle Dean Jackson
2005 BloodRayne Vladimir Uwe Boll
2005 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Maugrim (voice) Andrew Adamson Uncredited
2006 Scary Movie 4 Oliver David Zucker
2006 The Last Drop Col. J.T. Colt Colin Teague
2006 Hoboken Hollow J.T. Goldman Glen Stephens
2007 Machine Ray Michael Lazar
2007 Living & Dying Agent Lind Jon Keeyes
2007 Boarding Gate Miles Rennberg Olivier Assayas
2007 Afghan Knights Cooper Allan Harmon
2007 Strength and Honour Sean Kelleher Mark Mahon Boston Film Festival – Best Actor
New York International Independent Film and Video Festival - Best Actor
Mount Shasta International Film Festival – Best Actor in a Feature
2007 Tooth and Nail Jackal Mark Young
2008 Hell Ride The Gent Larry Bishop
2008 Last Hour Monk Pascal Caubet
2008 Vice Max Walker Raul Inglis
2008 Break The Associate Marc Clebanoff
2008 House Tin Man Robby Henson
2009 You Might as Well Live Clinton Manitoba Simon Ennis
2009 Shannon's Rainbow Dave Blair Frank E. Johnson
2009 The Bleeding Father Roy Charlie Picerni
2010 The Killing Jar Doe Mark Young
2010 Let the Game Begin Dr. Turner Amit Gupta
2010 The Big I Am Martell Nic Auerbach
2010 Terror Trap Carter Dan Garcia
2010 The Brazen Bull The Man Douglas Elford-Argent
2011 Forest of the Living Dead Lt. Brandon Ross Shan Serafin
2011 The Lion of Judah Boss (voice) Deryck Broom & Roger Hawkins
2011 Loosies Lt. Nick Sullivan Michael Corrente
2011 The 5th Execution Rik Aleksandr Yakimchuk & Elena Kovaleva
2011 A Cold Day In Hell U.S. Marshall Stallings Christopher Forbes
2012 Ace of Spades: Bad Destiny Draško Đurović
2012 Desperate Endeavors Ed Salim Khassa
2012 Infected Louis Glenn Ciano
2013 Along the Roadside Jerry Zoran Lisinac
2013 Ashley Bill Dean Matthew Ronalds
2013 I'm in Love with a Church Girl Frank Harris Steve Race
2014 The Ninth Cloud Bob Jane Spencer
2015 Lumberjack Man Dr. Peter Shirtcliff Josh Bear
2015 Flipped Casey Harris Demel
2015 The Hateful Eight Joe Gage/ Grouch Douglass Quentin Tarantino Hollywood Film Award for Ensemble of the Year
2016 Magi Lawrence Irlam Hasan Karacadag
2016 Vigilante Diaries Moreau Christian Sesma
2017 Benzine Max Asen Blatechki
2018 Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad Duke (voice) Aaron Woodley Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Special Bulletin Jimmy Lenox Television film
1984 Cagney & Lacey Boyd Evans Strout Episode: "Heat"
1984 Miami Vice Sally Alvarado Episode: "Give a Little, Take a Little"
1985 The Hitchhiker John Hampton Episode: "Man at the Window"
1985–86 Our Family Honor Augie Danzig 13 episodes
1986 Crime Story Johnny Fosse 2 episodes
1988 War and Remembrance Lt. "Foof" Turhall Miniseries
1989 Almost Grown Walter Zmuida Episode: "Take It Slow"
1989 Tour of Duty Sergeant Greg Block Episode: "Sleeping Dogs"
1989 Jake and the Fatman Chase Episode: "Snowfall"
1989 Quantum Leap Blue Episode: "Jimmy - October 14, 1964"
1990 The Outsiders Mick Jenkins Episode: "The Beat Goes On"
1991 Gabriel's Fire Stan Frankel Episode: "Finger on the Trigger"
1992 Baby Sntacher Cal Hudson Television film
1992 Beyond the Law Blood Television film
1998–99 Vengeance Unlimited Mr. Chapel 15 episodes
2001 Big Apple Terry Maddock 8 episodes
2001–05 Animal Precinct Narrator Television documentary
2003 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out Detective Frank McGregor Television film
2004 Frankenstein Detective Harker Television film
2005 Tilt Donovan 'The Matador' Everest 9 episodes
2007 Croc Croc Hawkins Television film
2007 Crash and Burn Vincent Scaillo Television film
2010 CSI: Miami Cooper "Coop" Daly Episode: "L.A."
2010 24 Jim Ricker 4 episodes
2012 Bob's Burgers Kevin Costner (voice) Episode: "Moody Foodie"
2012 Piranhaconda Professor Lovegrove Television film
2012 Blue Bloods Benjamin Walker Episode: "Family Business"
2012–13 The Mob Doctor Russell King 3 episodes
2013 Golden Boy Walter Clark Sr. 2 episodes
2013 Axe Cop Baby Man (voice) Episode: "No More Bad Guys"
2014 Hawaii Five-0 Roy Parrish Episode: "Na hala a ka makua"
2015 Big Time in Hollywood, FL Harvey Scoles 5 episodes
2016 Those Who Can't Callahan Episode: "Wet Dreams May Come"
2016 Powers Patrick / Supershock[20] 10 episodes
2016 The Making of the Mob: Chicago Himself Miniseries


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Red Line Mr. Lawrence
2001 You Rock My World Thug
2009 Green Lantern: First Flight Kilowog (voice)
2011 Amsterdam Heavy Martin Keele
2012 Eldorado Ted
2014 Black Widow Boyfriend Video clip

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Notes
2001 Grand Theft Auto III Toni Cipriani
2003 True Crime: Streets of LA Don Rafferty / Additional voices
2003 Driver 3 John Tanner
2005 Yakuza Futoshi Shimano English version
2005 Narc Detective Jack Forzenski
2006 Reservoir Dogs Mr. Blonde / Vic Vega
2012 Dishonored Daud
2013 Mob of the Dead Michael 'Finn' O'Leary
2013 The Walking Dead: Season Two William Carver Nominated – Behind the Voice Actors Award for Best Vocal Ensemble
2016 Dishonored 2 Daud Uncredited


  1. ^ "Michael Madsen Biography (1958?-)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved January 26, 2015. Born September 25, 1958 (some sources cite 1959) 
  2. ^ Bell, Mark (2007-02-23). "Method Fest to Present the 2007 Maverick Award to Michael Madsen". FilmThreat,com. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  3. ^ Kennedy, Lisa (2007-02-21). "A strong role, an equal partner". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  4. ^ Bray, Tony (April 2004). "Virginia Madsen". TV Now. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  5. ^ Haddon, Cole (2008-08-07). "Michael Madsen Talks Hell Ride, Inglorious Bastards, and Sin City 2". Film.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  6. ^ Sciretta, Peter (April 7, 2007). "Quentin Tarantino talks Vega Brothers, the Pulp Fiction & Reservoir Dogs sequel/prequel". Slashfilm. 
  7. ^ "Michael Madsen, George Hamilton and Paul Ben-Victor Star in Coma, an Original Web Series Premiering On Crackle.com". 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  8. ^ "24 Season 8 Episode 19 Press Release (10:00AM – 11:00AM)". 24 Spoilers. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Let the Game Begin at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ "Michael Madsen's Latest Low Brow Horror Gets 'Infected'". BloodyDisgusting. 
  11. ^ Photographer helped Madsen meet Sinatra | Las Vegas Review-Journal
  12. ^ "Death in the Desert (2015)". IMDb. 9 October 2015. 
  13. ^ Kindest cut of all for cancer patients (scroll to end) | Las Vegas Review-Journal
  14. ^ Jessica Harmon (11 October 2015). "Death in the Desert rolls up new trailer". moviepilot.com. 
  15. ^ "Iggy Azalea - Black Widow ft. Rita Ora". YouTube. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  16. ^ Celebrity Big Brother, January 2012
  17. ^ HISTORY « Love Ride 26
  18. ^ Opie Radio (19 May 2016). "Michael Madsen and Chris Penn Broke Into a Liquor Store - @OpieRadio @JimNorton" – via YouTube. 
  19. ^ Frauenfelder, Mark (April 12, 2013). "Michael Madsen talks to Boing Boing about his hot sauce". Boing Boing. 
  20. ^ "Powers Season 2: Michael Madsen Joins Cast as SuperShock". PlayStation.Blog. Retrieved 2016-07-07. 

External links[edit]