- Virginia G. Madsen
September 11, 1961 (age 59)
- Actor, Film Producer, Presenter, Businessperson, Voice Actor
- Antonio Sabàto, Jr.
- Elaine Madsen, Calvin Madsen
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 the horror film Candyman (1992); and for her performance as Maya in Alexander Payne's film Sideways (2004), for which she received numerous awards and nominations, including nominations for 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 Madsen (née Elaine Loretta 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 film critic 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). Also in 1987, she appeared in the music video for "I Found Someone", by Cher. 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.
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).