Virginia Madsen

Biography: Born into a family familiar with the ups and downs of acting, Virginia came into this world on September 11, 1963, in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother, Elaine, is a writer and producer who has won awards. Her dad, Cal, was a firefighter. It wasn't until her teen years that the acting bug bit big time, and she began developing her acting skills at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois. To further those skills, she enlisted the help of Chicago's Ted Liss Acting Studio and continued her studies at the Harand Camp Adult Theater Seminar in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. While still a teenager, she and her boyfriend made the decision and moved to Hollywood, where at 19, she made her onscreen debut in the film Class, which was also where she had her first of numerous nude scenes. That movie did not do well, but Virginia did get noticed and better roles began slowly finding her, including a choice supporting role in the David Lynch film Dune in 1984. Mirroring her unstable personal life, her career continued on a rocky road of highs and disappointments.

But her work was steady and her performances almost always stole the attention of the films she was in. Roles in Long Gone, Heart of Dixie, The Prophecy, Highlander II, Becoming Colette, The Hot Spot, Candyman, Dune 2, The Rainmaker, The Haunting, Children of Fortune, After Sex, and Tempted, kept her in front of the public eye and she became a favorite supporting actress, one whom audiences enjoyed seeing. But stardom eluded Virginia and she took some time off to step back, be a mom, and try to figure out what she needed to do with her career.

After various parts in different television shows, her career suddenly perked up after the Louis L'Amour novel-made-cable-tv-movie Crossfire Trail, co-starring Tom Selleck. Overnight, people were once again talking about Virginia Madsen.

Then Alexander Payne saw her photo among possible female leads for his film Sideways and after an audition, Payne and producer Michael London quickly signed her.

Virginia received rave critical and audience reviews and received the Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for Sideways. She's now on the A list in Hollywood after completing major films like Firewall, Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion, The Astronaut Farmer, Ripple Effect, and the upcoming features The Number 23, Being Michael Madsen, and In the Shadow of Wings. And she feels her career is now back on path.

Virginia Madsen's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average career score: 50
Highest Metascore: 94 Sideways
Lowest Metascore: 29 Red Riding Hood
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 13
  2. Negative: 5 out of 13
13 movie reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
94 Sideways Oct 22, 2004 Maya 6.5
75 A Prairie Home Companion Jun 9, 2006 Dangerous Woman 6.4
72 The Rainmaker Nov 21, 1997 Jackie Lemancyzk 6.8
56 The Hot Spot Oct 12, 1990 Dolly Harshaw 8.0
55 The Astronaut Farmer Feb 23, 2007 Audrey 'Audie' Farmer 5.5
54 Diminished Capacity Jul 4, 2008 Charlotte 6.5
46 The Magic of Belle Isle Jul 6, 2012 Mrs. O'Neil / Charlotte O'Neil / Mrs. O'Neil 5.8
45 Firewall Feb 10, 2006 Beth Stanfield 5.3
36 The Hot Flashes Jul 12, 2013 Clementine Winks / Clementine Winks 8.0
36 Father of Invention Oct 14, 2011 Lorraine 4.2
33 The Haunting in Connecticut Mar 27, 2009 Sara Campbell 6.1
30 Jake Squared Aug 15, 2014 Beth / Beth tbd
29 Red Riding Hood Mar 11, 2011 Suzette 4.2
tbd The Number 23 Feb 23, 2007 Agatha Sparrow/Fabrizia 6.5