VIRGINIA MADSEN Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Virginia Madsen                                                                   
Born: 11 September 1961 Chicago, Illinois                                               
Virginia Madsen (born September 11, 1961) is an American actress. She came to           
fame during the 1980s, having appeared in several films aimed at a teenage               
audience. During the 2000s, she once again became known after an Academy Award-         
and Golden Globe-nominated role in the film Sideways.                                   
Madsen was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Elaine (nee Melson), an           
Emmy-winning poet, producer and playwright who often works for PBS, and Calvin           
Madsen, a fireman. Madsen's mother left a career in corporate business to               
pursue a writing career. Madsen's brother is actor Michael Madsen. Her                   
paternal grandparents were Danish and her mother has Irish and Native American           
ancestry. Madsen is a graduate of New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.           
Her first stab as a thespian was as her brother's assistant in magic shows the           
two would concoct for their family. 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           
Audiences first caught a glimpse of Madsen in a bit part she landed as Lisa in           
the teen sex comedy Class. She was cast as Princess Irulan in David Lynch's             
science fiction epic Dune (1984). 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's Fire with Fire. Other noted film                 
appearances include 1990s The Hot Spot with Don Johnson, and the steamy Third           
Degree Burn with Treat Williams. She was also co-host of the TV series Unsolved         
Mysteries in 1999, during the show's final season at CBS.                               
She also turned in a solid performance in Francis Ford Coppola's The Rainmaker (1997).   
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 spent more than             
twenty years in minor films before her breakout critically acclaimed performance         
in Sideways (2004). The role catapulted her onto the fabled 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 opened in North America on February 23, 2007.           
Madsen has made numerous television appearances including: Star Trek: Voyager,           
CSI: Miami, Dawson's Creek, The Practice, Frasier, Moonlighting, and other               
series. She starred opposite Ray Liotta in CBS's short-lived crime drama Smith.