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Virginia Madsen

A cool, classic beauty, with a vibrant blonde mane and an exuberant flair for the dramatic, Virginia Madsen is one of Hollywood's most versatile and unique actresses to date. Virginia received amazing reviews for her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated performance in Alexander Payne's hit film, Sideways. The Independent Spirit Award winning actress has an illustrious resume of acting roles alongside the most notable and respected actors in the business. It keeps growing with starring roles opposite Harrison Ford in the action thriller Firewall, and alongside Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in the comedic drama A Prairie Home Companion. She co-stars opposite Billy Bob Thornton in the upcoming satirical comedy The Astronaut Farmer, slated for release on February 23rd, 2007, as well as alongside Forrest Whitaker in the existential drama The Ripple Effect. There is plenty more and yet, this is just the beginning for Madsen, as she grows even more glamorous and worldly with the infinite grace of a bona-fide classic Hollywood movie star.

A career as diverse and eclectic as the characters she portrays, Madsen has worked in Francis Ford Coppola's The Rainmaker with Matt Damon, Rob Reiner's Ghosts of Mississippi with Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg and James Woods, the cult classic Candyman with Kasi Lemmons, Hot Spot directed by Dennis Hopper, HBO's first feature Long Gone and David Lynch's Dune. Virginia's versatility was seen in the independent film, Almost Salinas, opposite John Mahoney and in American Gun, opposite Academy Award winner James Coburn.

In Firewall, Virginia played the kidnapped wife of the head security executive for a global bank (Ford), who is ordered to steal millions of dollars in order to ensure his wife and children's safety. From there, Madsen was directed by the legendary Robert Altman in A Prairie Home Companion, opposite Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly. In this adaptation of America's most beloved radio personalities and acclaimed humorists, Garrison Keillor's radio show, Madsen describes her character as a dangerous woman and an angelic spirit consumed with her fascination of the unusual collection of performances that take place around her, and whose purpose remains a mystery throughout the film as it chronicles the famed radio show's last day on the air. Madsen also stars in the Warner Independent Pictures film, The Astronaut Farmer opposite Billy Bob Thornton, a story about an eccentric farmer (Thornton) who dreams of space travel and sets out to build a rocket in his barn, despite the government's attempts to stop him. Madsen plays Thornton's wife, Audie, who believes in her husbands dreams, against all odds. The film also stars Bruce Dern and Bruce Willis.

Hailing from Illinois, Virginia grew up just north of Chicago. Her father was a fireman and her mother was an Emmy-Award winning filmmaker. As a child, she adored watching old black & white and silent films. I am a huge Bette Davis and Joan Blondell fan, she states. In her formative years, "I was very artistic. I never ran around with the popular crowd," she admits modestly. Virginia turned to her high school drama department as an outlet to express herself. "I used it as a way to transform myself into something more, she recalls, and that she did. This rich cultural environment challenged me, my personality, and the image I had of myself and gave me strength of character, the self-proclaimed, former hippy chick" admits. It wasn't long before Virginia's drive and focus transformed her from a shy teenager into a fledgling stage actress.

It was destiny for Virginia to become a star as her determination and talent quickly paid off. When a Polaroid landed on the desk of the famed director David Lynch, he immediately cast her in his film Dune. Immediately following, Virginia landed a role in the first computer film, Electric Dreams.

When Virginia became pregnant with her then-love interest, Antonio Sabato Jr., she put her successful career on hold and had a baby boy (Jack). It wasn't until Jack was in pre-school that the actress had notions of reentering into her Hollywood career. Upon hearing of Virginia's desire to act again, Francis Ford Coppola asked her to audition for his latest project, the film version of John Grisham's legal thriller, The Rainmaker, a role that reestablished Virginia's dynamic career. From there, her career began to soar again. And with the critical acclaim she received for her portrayal of Maya in Sideways and her roles in Firewall, A Prairie Home Companion, The Astronaut Farmer and The Ripple Effect, it is apparent that her hiatus to raise a family did nothing to hinder this go-getter from resilient success.

With the reestablishment of her thriving acting career, Virginia finds herself facing the ultimate challenge...with a huge smile. Juggling her successful career, caring for her #1 priority, son Jack, plus finding time to maintain her sanity is nothing short of a miracle. However, Virginia relishes her life and seeks taking on more. Even with her hectic lifestyle, she still manages to find time for weight training, spinning classes and pilates.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
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Virginia Madsen Facts

BirthdaySeptember 11, 1963 (60)
BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, USA
Height5' 8" (1m73)  How tall is Virginia Madsen compared to you?
Awards2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (for Sideways)

Selected Filmography

The Haunting In Connecticut
Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition
The Number 23
Scooby-Doo in Where's My Mummy?
An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success
The Last Keepers
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