"When you say no a lot as an actor, you're going to go broke, and that's been the hardest thing to go through in the last 10 years. Being a single mother and having financial problems is a nightmare." Virginia Madsen.
Of Italian, Irish and Native American descent, actress Virginia Madsen was recently nominated for both an Oscar and Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress after portraying divorcee Maya in Alexander Payne's Sideways (2004). Madsen is also credited to such films as Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Electric Dreams (1984) and Creator (1985).
Madsen's personal life has been linked to actor Antonio Sabato Jr. (born on February 29, 1972) and she has one child with him. Madsen was once engaged to actor Billy Campbell, with whom she pursued an acting career in Hollywood and lived with in the Pacific Palisades. From 1989 to 1992 Madsen was married to actor Danny Huston.
Childhood and Family:
"I have good genes. My father is Danish and my mother is Irish and Native American. They both have good skin." Virginia Madsen.
Granddaughter of Danish grandparents (Soren and Anna Marie Madsen) Virginia Madsen, nicknamed Gina, was born on September 11, 1963 to firefighter father Cal Madsen and Emmy-winning writer/producer Elaine Madsen. Virginia has one older brother, actor Michael Madsen (best friend of director Quentin Tarantino), who was born on September 25, 1958.
Chicago, Illinois born Virginia spent her childhood studying both dancing and acting. After graduating from the New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois (with best friend actress Rusty Schwimmer), Virginia continued to study acting at Ted Liss Acting Studio, Chicago and signed up for the Harand Camp Adult Theater Seminar in Elkhart Lake, WI.
In 1989, Virginia tied the knot with actor Danny Huston (born on May 14, 1962), but they later divorced in 1992. In 1994, Virginia gave birth to son Jack. She shares her son with Jack's father, actor Antonio Sabato Jr.
The Best Wine
Joining brother Michael Madsen (Sin City, Kill Bill) Virginia sharpened acting skills in local theater productions. She decided to fly to L.A. with then-fiancé Billy Campbell to pursue her acting career in 1983. 19-year-old Gina debuted on the big screen playing a character in Lewis John Carlino's teen-comedy Class (1984, starring Jacqueline Bisset and Rob Lowe).
1984 was a good starting year for Gina. Following her cast in Class, she won her first leading part of Madeline Robistat in Steve Barron's sci-fi romantic comedy Electric Dreams and appeared in David Lynch's adaptation of Frank Herbert's fantasy novel, Dune (as Princess Irulan). She also was seen on television playing a role in Gwen Arner's family drama, A Matter of Principle (1984), and in the mini series Mussolini: The Untold Story (1985).
During the next years, Gina appeared as a guest in several shows like The Hitchhiker (1987) and Moonlighting (1989). Meanwhile, she kept working on the silver screen and was seen in Fire with Fire (1986), Slam Dance (1987), Mr. North (1988), and Hot to Trot (1988).
After portraying femme fatale Dolly Harshaw in Dennis Hopper's adaptation on Charles Williams' romance-drama book, The Hot Spot (1990, opposite Don Johnson), Bernard Rose handed her the lead role of curious student Helen Lyle in his horror film Candyman (1992). During the next years, Gina took some time off to be with her son and appeared primarily on TV, video, and in several minor films. In 1997, Francis Ford Coppola cast her in the supporting role of Jackie Lemanczyk in his adaptation of John Grisham's thriller novel, The Rainmaker, starring Matt Damon and Danny DeVito. In the rest of the 1990s, Gina spent more time on TV, co-hosting the CBS' show Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack, and guest starring the NBC's series Frasier.
The 2000s saw her in such movies as Lying In Wait (2000), After Sex (2000), Almost Salinas (2001), American Gun (2002), and Artworks (2003), as well as Nobody Knows Anything! (2003). She also starred as Rebecca Sandstrom in the TV series American Dreams from 2002 to 2003.
Gina recently caught public attention when she was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress after portraying a divorcee who owns a perfect taste of wine, Maya, in Alexander Payne's adaptation of Rex Pickett's drama comedy Sideways (2004). Additionally, Gina will team with legend Harrison Ford in Richard Loncraine's thriller, The Wrong Element, in 2005.
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Sideways, 2005