Date of Birth : Sep 11th 1961
Madsen was born in Chicago, Illinois to Cal Madsen, a fireman, and Elaine (née Melson), an Emmy-winning poet, producer and playwright who often works for PBS; 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:
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. Most recently, 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.
When Madsen arrived in Hollywood, she was engaged to actor Billy Campbell. She married actor Danny Huston in 1989 and they divorced in 1992. Madsen also had a relationship with actor Antonio Sabato Jr., with whom she had a son, Jack, in 1994.