Madsen at the 2006 San Francisco International Film Festival
|Born||Virginia G. Madsen
September 11, 1961
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Danny Huston (m. 1989; div. 1992)|
|Partner(s)||Antonio Sabàto, Jr. (1993–98)|
|Parent(s)||Elaine Madsen (mother)|
Virginia G. Madsen (born September 11, 1961) is an American actress and producer. She made her film debut in Class (1983), which was filmed in her native Chicago. She soon moved to Los Angeles. In 1984, David Lynch cast her in the science fiction film Dune as Princess Irulan. Madsen was then cast in a series of successful teen movies, including Electric Dreams (1984), Modern Girls (1986), and Fire with Fire (1986).
She is most known for her role as Helen Lyle in Candyman (1992); and for her performance as Maya in Alexander Payne's film Sideways (2004), for which she received numerous awards and nominations, including the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her other film appearances include Long Gone (1987), Gotham (1988), The Hot Spot (1990), Ghosts of Mississippi (1996), The Rainmaker (1997), A Prairie Home Companion (2006), The Haunting in Connecticut (2009), Red Riding Hood (2011), and All the Wilderness (2014).
Madsen was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Elaine Melson, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author, and Calvin Madsen, a fireman. Madsen's parents divorced in the late 60s, and her mother left a career in finance to pursue a career in arts, encouraged by Roger Ebert. Madsen's siblings are Cheryl Madsen, an entrepreneur, and actor Michael Madsen. Her paternal grandparents were Danish, and her mother has English, Irish, Scottish, German, and distant Native American ancestry. Madsen is a graduate of New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.
She later attended the Ted Liss Acting Studio in Chicago, and Harand Camp Adult Theater Seminar in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Of her experience with Liss, she said: "I had wanted to join his class since I was 12. It was well worth the wait because I don't think I could have got that sort of training anywhere else especially in the United States... I always wanted to make a real career out of acting."
Madsen made her film debut when she was 22, acting in a bit part she landed as Lisa in the teen sex comedy Class. She then made an appearance in Kenny Loggins' music video for "I'm Free (Heaven Helps the Man)" from the Footloose soundtrack. She portrayed a cellist named Madeline in Electric Dreams (1984), which was the first film release by Virgin Films Production Company. She was cast as Princess Irulan in David Lynch's science fiction epic Dune (1984). In 1986, she starred as Boris' (Vincent Spano) romantic interest Barbara in Creator, which also starred Peter O'Toole.
Madsen first became popular with audiences in 1986 with her portrayal of a Catholic schoolgirl who fell in love with a boy from a prison camp in Duncan Gibbons' Fire with Fire. As beauty queen Dixie Lee Boxx, she was the sexy love interest of minor-league baseball manager Cecil "Stud" Cantrell (William Petersen) in the made-for-cable film Long Gone (1987). She played a secretary in the 1988 comedy film Hot to Trot, and appeared as Maddie Hayes' cousin in the final season of Moonlighting. She also starred in the 1992 horror film Candyman.
Madsen appeared in a small role in the Francis Ford Coppola drama The Rainmaker (1997) starring Matt Damon. Film critic Roger Ebert said that Madsen had a "strong scene", while reviewer James Berardinelli noted that "the supporting cast is solid, with turns from... Virginia Madsen as a witness for the plaintiff". Madsen had a critically acclaimed performance in Sideways (2004). The role catapulted her onto the Hollywood A-list.
Her first major role after Sideways was opposite Harrison Ford in Firewall. She later appeared in Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion, in a key role as the angel. She co-starred with Jim Carrey in The Number 23 and Billy Bob Thornton in The Astronaut Farmer; both films released in North America on February 23, 2007. She voiced Queen Hippolyte, mother of Wonder Woman, in the 2009 animated Wonder Woman film.
Madsen has made numerous television appearances including Star Trek: Voyager, CSI: Miami, Dawson's Creek, The Practice, Frasier and other series. She was also co-host of the long-running television series Unsolved Mysteries in 1999, during the show's second (and final) season on CBS. She starred opposite Ray Liotta in the short-lived CBS crime drama series Smith. She also had a recurring role in the final season of the USA series Monk.
In 2010, she landed the starring role of Cheryl West in the ABC crime series Scoundrels. In December 2010, it was announced that she will be joining the cast of NBC's science fiction action series The Event. In 2012, she joined the cast of the AMC TV series Hell on Wheels as Mrs. Durant, first appearing in episode eight of season 2, "The Lord's Day". In 2013, Madsen began appearing on Lifetime's Witches of East End as Penelope Gardiner, the main villainess of the first season.
In 2008, she formed her own film production company called Title IX Prods. Her first project was a film made with her mother titled I Know a Woman Like That. The film is a documentary about the lives of older women. On the creation of the film, she said her mother's active lifestyle was an inspiration to start filming.
"My mother's level of activity, of productivity, was exactly why I thought a project like this would work. Originally, when we put the idea together, she had said, 'I'm far too busy. I'm going to Holland, and then I'm going here and there and I'm writing my book.' But that's really what it's about."
Her second project is titled Fighting Gravity and is about the inability of female ski jumpers to obtain recognition in Olympic competition.
Madsen was formerly married to actor and director Danny Huston after meeting on the set of Mr. North. They were married in 1989 but divorced in 1992. Madsen was formerly in a long term relationship with Antonio Sabàto, Jr., with whom she had one son, Jack Antonio (born August 6, 1994).
|1984||Electric Dreams||Madeline Robistat|
|1986||Fire with Fire||Lisa Taylor|
|1987||Slam Dance||Yolanda Caldwell|
|1988||Mr. North||Sally Boffin|
|1988||Hot to Trot||Allison Rowe|
|1989||Heart of Dixie||Delia June Curry|
|1990||The Hot Spot||Dolly Harshaw|
|1991||Highlander II: The Quickening||Louise Marcus|
|1994||Caroline at Midnight||Susan Prince|
|1994||Blue Tiger||Gina Hayes|
|1996||Just Your Luck||Kim|
|1996||Ghosts of Mississippi||Dixie DeLaughter|
|1997||The Rainmaker||Jackie Lemanczyk|
|1998||Ballad of the Nightingale||Unknown|
|1999||The Haunting||Jane Lance|
|2000||Lying in Wait||Vera Miller|
|2001||Full Disclosure||Brenda Hopkins|
|2002||American Gun||Penny Tillman|
|2003||Nobody Knows Anything!||Prison Lawyer|
|2005||Scooby-Doo! in Where's My Mummy?||Cleopatra||Voice|
|2005||Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild||The Beast||Voice; direct-to-video|
|2006||A Prairie Home Companion||Dangerous Woman|
|2007||The Astronaut Farmer||Audrey "Audie" Farmer|
|2007||The Number 23||Agatha Sparrow / Fabrizia|
|2007||Being Michael Madsen||Herself|
|2009||The Haunting in Connecticut||Sara Campbell|
|2009||Wonder Woman||Queen Hippolyta||Voice|
|2009||Amelia||Dorothy Binney||Deleted scenes|
|2010||Father of Invention||Lorraine|
|2011||Red Riding Hood||Suzette|
|2012||The Magic of Belle Isle||Charlotte O'Neil|
|2013||The Last Keepers||Abigail Carver|
|2013||The Hot Flashes||Clementine Winks|
|2013||Crazy Kind of Love||Augusta Iris|
|2014||All the Wilderness||Abigail Charm|
|2015||Dead Rising: Watchtower||Maggie|
|2015||Joy||Carrie Mangano||In post-production|
|2016||Burn Your Maps||Victoria||In post-production|
|1984||American Playhouse||Lou Ellen Purdy||Episode: "A Matter of Principle"|
|1985||Mussolini: The Untold Story||Claretta Petacci||Television miniseries|
|1987||Long Gone||Dixie Lee Boxx||Television movie|
|1988||Gotham||Rachel Carlyle||Television movie|
|1989||Third Degree Burn||Anne Scholes||Television movie|
|1989||Moonlighting||Lorraine Anne Charnock||3 episodes|
|1991||Victim of Love||Carla Simons||Television movie|
|1991||Ironclads||Betty Stuart||Television movie|
|1992||A Murderous Affair: Carolyn Warmus The Story||Carolyn Warmus||Television movie|
|1998||Star Trek: Voyager||Kellin||Episode: "Unforgettable"|
|2000||Children of Fortune||Ingrid Bast||Television movie|
|2001||Crossfire Trail||Anne Rodney||Television movie|
|2001||Just Ask My Children||Brenda Kniffen||Television movie|
|2001||The Practice||Marsha Ellison||2 episodes|
|2002–06||Justice League||Dr. Sarah Corwin||2 episodes|
|2003||Dawson's Creek||Maddy||Episode: "All Good Things..."|
|2003||CSI: Miami||Krista Walker||Episode: "Death Grip"|
|2003||Spider-Man||Silver Sable||2 episodes|
|2004||Brave New Girl||Wanda Lovell||Television movie|
|2005||Justice League Unlimited||Roulette||2 episodes|
|2006–07||Smith||Hope Stevens||7 episodes|
|2009||Monk||T.K. Jensen||3 episodes|
|2010||Scoundrels||Cheryl West||8 episodes|
|2011||The Event||Senator Catherine Lewis||4 episodes|
|2012||Hell on Wheels||Mrs. Durant||4 episodes|
|2013||Hatfields & McCoys||Eloise McCoy||Unsold TV pilot|
|2013||The Anna Nicole Story||Virgie Arthur||Television movie|
|2013–14||Witches of East End||Penelope Gardiner||14 episodes|
|2015||An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success||Karen Thomas||Television movie|
|2015||Lost Boy||Laura Harris||Television movie|
Awards and nominations
- From the Nevada Marriage Index, 1956-2005
- Bell, Mark (February 23, 2007). "Method Fest to present the 2007 Maverick Award to Michael Madsen". Film Threat. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
- Kennedy, Lisa (February 21, 2007). "A strong role, an equal partner". The Denver Post. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
- Bray, Tony (April 2004). "Virginia Madsen". TV Now. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
- "Virginia Madsen and Suzanne Adams". TeachersCount. 2006. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
- Madsen, Virginia (2007). "Virginia Madsen Biography – Bio – Life History". Virginia Madsen Official Site. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
- Madsen's opening monologue from Dune ("In this time, the most precious substance in the universe is the spice melange. The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness.") was later sampled by Israel-based group Astral Projection in their tracks "Dancing Galaxy" and "Ambient Galaxy" on their album Dancing Galaxy, and by drum'n'bass artist Aphrodite in his song "Spice (Even Spicier)".
- Ebert, Roger (November 21, 1997). "The Rainmaker". RogerEbert.Suntimes.com. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
- Berardinelli, James (1997). "The Rainmaker". ReelViews. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
- Tarshis, Joan (September 2005). "Virginia Madsen’s Vintage Year". Smoke Magazine Online. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
- Ausiello, Michael (December 13, 2010). "Virginia Madsen Joins NBC's 'The Event'". Deadline.com. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- Siegel, Tatiana (April 21, 2008). "Virginia Madsen added to 'Amelia'". Variety. Retrieved December 26, 2009.
- "Ability Magazine: Virginia Madsen and Elaine Madsen Interview" (2010)". ABILITY Magazine. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
- "Title IX Prods". Internet Movie Database.
- Fink, Mitchell (July 13, 1992). "People Insider". People. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- "Virginia Madsen Says Ex Has 'Taken Parenthood On'". People. June 24, 2006.
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