Madeleine Stowe

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Madeleine Stowe
Madeleine Stowe in Haiti crop.jpg
Stowe in Haiti in 2011
BornMadeline M. Stowe
(1958-08-18) August 18, 1958 (age 56)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1978–present
Spouse(s)Brian Benben (1982–present)
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Madeleine Stowe
Madeleine Stowe in Haiti crop.jpg
Stowe in Haiti in 2011
BornMadeline M. Stowe
(1958-08-18) August 18, 1958 (age 56)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1978–present
Spouse(s)Brian Benben (1982–present)

Madeleine M. Stowe (born August 18, 1958)[1] is an American actress. She has appeared on stage and television in early career, before her breakthrough role in the 1987 crime-comedy film Stakeout. She later starred in films Revenge (1990) Unlawful Entry (1992), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Blink (1993), Bad Girls (1994), 12 Monkeys (1995), The General’s Daughter (1999), and We Were Soldiers (2002). Stowe also had a leading role in the independent film Short Cuts (1993), for which she won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Stowe had left the movie screen in 2003, and in later several years starred only in two made for television films. In 2011, she began starring as Victoria Grayson, the main antagonist of the ABC drama series Revenge. For performance in show she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 2012.

Early life[edit]

Stowe, the first of three children, was born at the Queen of Angels Hospital,[2] in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California[1][3] and raised in Eagle Rock, a suburb of Los Angeles. Her mother, Mireya (née Mora Steinvorth), had come from a prominent family in Costa Rica. Her father, Robert Stowe, was a civil engineer from a "poor Oregon family".[3][4][5][6] One of Stowe's maternal great-great-grandfathers, politician José Joaquín Mora Porras, was a younger brother of President Juan Rafael Mora Porras, who governed Costa Rica from 1849 to 1859. Another one of Stowe's maternal great-great-grandfathers was Bruno Carranza, President of Costa Rica in 1870, albeit briefly, as he resigned three months after taking power. His wife, Stowe's great-great-grandmother, Gerónima Montealegre, was the sister of President José María Montealegre Fernández, who governed Costa Rica from 1859 to 1863.[7] One of Stowe's maternal great-grandfathers was a German immigrant to Costa Rica.[7][8]

Stowe's father suffered from multiple sclerosis, and she accompanied him to medical treatments.[9]

She originally aspired to become a concert pianist, taking piano lessons between the ages of ten and eighteen. Stowe would later explain that playing the piano was a means of escape from having to socialize with other children her age. Her Russian-born music teacher, Sergei Tarnowsky, had faith in Stowe, even teaching her from his deathbed. Following his death at the age of 92, she quit, later commenting: "I just felt it was time to not be by myself anymore." Stowe went on her first date at the age of eighteen.[10]


Early years[edit]

Stowe studied cinema and journalism at the University of Southern California. Not being especially interested in her classes, she volunteered to do performances at the Solaris, a Beverly Hills theater, where a movie agent saw her in a play and got her several offers of appearances in TV and films. In 1978, she made her debut in an episode in the police drama series Baretta, followed by a string of TV work with guest appearances on The Amazing Spider-Man, Barnaby Jones and Little House on the Prairie. In 1978, she played a leading role as Mary in the television movie, The Nativity (1978).[11] She starred in the NBC miniseries The Gangster Chronicles, which starred Brian Benben, her future husband. She also starred in several television films, such as Amazons (1984) and Blood & Orchids (1986).

Breakthrough and film career[edit]

Madeleine Stowe in 2002

In 1987, Stowe appeared in her first breakthrough role in the feature film Stakeout with Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez.[11] The film debuted at No.1 at the box office.[12][13] She co-starred with Mark Harmon in the comedy Worth Winning, with Kevin Costner in the 1989 thriller Revenge, and opposite Jack Nicholson in 1990 in The Two Jakes. She played a leading role in the 1991 independent film Closet Land.[14]

In 1992, she appeared opposite Kurt Russell in the crime drama Unlawful Entry.[15] That same year, Stowe played Cora Munro in The Last of the Mohicans, which also starred Daniel Day-Lewis. Her critically acclaimed performance in the film, which grossed more than $75 million worldwide, elevated Stowe from supporting player to an A-list movie star.[11][16] The next year, director Robert Altman cast Stowe in the award-winning ensemble cast movie Short Cuts, where she gave one of her most acclaimed screen performances as the wife of a compulsively lying and adulterous police officer played by Tim Robbins. She won the National Society of Film Critics Awards for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe Award and a Volpi Cup for Best Ensemble Cast for her performance in the movie.[17] She also made a cameo appearance in Stakeout's sequel Another Stakeout.[11] The following year, Stowe played a leading role as a blind musician in the thriller Blink, in the neo-noir thriller China Moon, and in the Western Bad Girls.[16] The year after that, she was a sympathetic psychiatrist in the financially successful and critically lauded science-fiction movie Twelve Monkeys. Stowe received a Saturn Awards nomination for this performance.[17]

Madeleine Stowe in 2008

In 1994 Stowe was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World".[11][18] In 1995, Stowe was chosen by Empire as one of the "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History".[19]

Stowe postponed her acting career in 1996 to concentrate on motherhood. In 1998, she came back with The Proposition and Playing by Heart, and then The General's Daughter, opposite John Travolta in 1999.[16] In 2001, she starred in the science-fiction box office bomb Impostor.[20] In 2002, she played Julia Moore in the war film We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson, and the box office flop action-comedy Avenging Angelo opposite Sylvester Stallone.[16] In 2003, she starred in the thriller Octane as Senga Wilson, a single mother trying to save her teenaged daughter Natasha (Mischa Barton) from a bizarre cult obsessed with blood and cars.

Recent years[edit]

Stowe had left the screen in 2003 and settled on a Texas ranch outside Fredericksburg, with her daughter May and husband Brian Benben. Stowe returned to television in 2005 with a role in the television film Saving Milly, an adaptation of Morton Kondracke's book of the same name, of a woman diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.[21] Stowe starred in the not-picked-up Fox pilot Southern Comfort about a woman who takes over her mobster husband's business when he gets sent to prison.[22] In 2007, she appeared in the recurring role of Dr. Samantha Kohl in Jeff Goldblum's supernatural detective drama Raines on NBC, a mid-season replacement. The series was canceled after two months. In 2009 she starred in the Lifetime movie, The Christmas Hope.[16]

In 2011, Stowe played Victoria Grayson, the glamorous and powerful matriarch of the Grayson family, on ABC's television drama series Revenge.[23][24] It debuted on September 21, and was picked up for a full season by ABC on October 13.[25] Stowe's portrayal of the character received critical praise,[26] and she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for this role.[27]

In April 2012, she came in fifth in People magazine's annual Most Beautiful Woman list.[28][29]

Personal life[edit]

In 1982, Stowe married Brian Benben, whom she met on the set of the NBC miniseries The Gangster Chronicles the previous year. They live near Johnson City, Texas, and have a daughter named May Theodora (born 1996).[30]

In 2008, Stowe travelled to Haiti and helped found Artists for Peace and Justice. She is on the Board of Directors of the foundation.[31][32]



1981Gangster WarsRuth Lasker
1987StakeoutMaria McGuire
1988Tropical SnowMarina
1989Worth WinningVeronica Briskow
1990Two Jakes, TheThe Two JakesLillian Bodine
1991Closet LandVictim
1992Unlawful EntryKaren Carr
1992Last of the Mohicans, TheThe Last of the MohicansCora Munro
1993Another StakeoutMaria McGuireUncredited cameo
1993Short CutsSherri Shepard
1994China MoonRachel Munro
1994BlinkEmma Brody
1994Bad GirlsCody Zamora
199512 MonkeysKathryn Railly
1998Proposition, TheThe PropositionEleanor Barret
1998Playing by HeartGracie
1999General's Daughter, TheThe General's DaughterWarr. Off. Sara Sunhill
2001ImpostorMaya Olham
2002We Were SoldiersJulia Moore
2002Avenging AngeloJennifer Barrett Allieghieri
2003OctaneSenga Wilson


1978BarettaAnnaEpisode: "The Marker"
1978Amazing Spider-Man, TheThe Amazing Spider-ManMaria CalderonEpisode: "Escort to Danger"
1978Nativity, TheThe NativityMaryMovie
1978Deerslayer, TheThe DeerslayerHetty HutterMovie
1979Barnaby JonesDianeEpisode: "School of Terror"
1980Beulah LandSelma Kendrick DavisMiniseries
1980Little House on the PrairieAnnie CraneEpisode: "Portrait of Love"
1981Trapper John, M.D.CassieEpisode: "Creepy Time Gal"
1981Gangster Chronicles, TheThe Gangster ChroniclesRuth LaskerMiniseries
1984AmazonsDr. Sharon FieldsMovie
1986Blood & OrchidsHester Ashley MurdochMovie
2002Magnificent Ambersons, TheThe Magnificent AmbersonsIsabel Amberson MinaferMovie
2006Southern ComfortCharlotteMovie
2007RainesDr. Samantha Kohl5 episodes
2009Christmas Hope, TheThe Christmas HopePatricia AddisonMovie
RevengeVictoria GraysonSeries regular

Awards and nominations[edit]

Stowe in New Hampshire in 2008
1993Venice Film FestivalVolpi Cup for Best Ensemble CastShort CutsWon
1994National Society of Film Critics AwardBest Supporting ActressShort CutsWon
1994Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Ensemble CastShort CutsWon
1996Science fiction magazineBest Actress in a Genre Motion Picture12 MonkeysWon
1996Saturn AwardBest Actress12 MonkeysNominated
2000Blockbuster Entertainment AwardsFavorite Supporting Actress - SuspenseThe General's DaughterNominated
2000ALMA AwardOutstanding Actress in a Feature FilmThe General's DaughterNominated
2003American Veterans AwardsBest ActressWe Were SoldiersWon
2005Imagen Foundation AwardBest ActressSaving MillyWon
2012Golden Globe AwardBest Actress – Television Series DramaRevengeNominated
2012ALMA AwardFavorite TV Actress – DramaRevengeNominated
2013TV Guide AwardFavorite VillainRevengeNominated
2014Keck School of Medicine of USCHumanitarian Award[33]Won


  1. ^ a b According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At, searchable at
  2. ^ Madeleine Stowe
  3. ^ a b Madeleine Stowe profile at
  4. ^ "The Leading Madeleine Online Site on the Net". Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  5. ^ Search Results
  6. ^ "Madeleine Stowe's Second Act | MORE Magazine". Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  7. ^ a b Beéche, Arturo, Los Beéche en Costa Rica (1994),;
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "The Trip to Bankable", Los Angeles Times, January 30, 1994
  10. ^ What drives Madeleine Stow [sic] up the Wall?
  11. ^ a b c d e "Biography for Madeleine Stowe". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 16, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Stakeout' Ranks No. 1 In Box-Office Sales". The New York Times. 1987-09-02. Retrieved February 16, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Stakeout in First Place In Week's Ticket Sales". The New York Times. 1987-08-27. Retrieved February 16, 2011. 
  14. ^ Closet Land (1990), AllRovi
  15. ^ Unlawful Entry, Box Office Mojo
  16. ^ a b c d e "Madeleine Stowe- Biography". Yahoo!. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "Awards for Madeleine Stowe". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 16, 2011. 
  18. ^ "The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World". People magazine. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 
  19. ^ Biography for Madeleine Stowe
  20. ^ Impostor - boxofficemojo
  21. ^ TELEVISION REVIEW When the Course of True Love Is Derailed by Disease, March 12, 2005, The New York Times
  22. ^ IN OTHER FALL PILOT NEWS..., Feb 27, 2006, TV Guide
  23. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 15, 2011). "Madeleine Stowe Among Latest Pilot Castings". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Revenge on ABC"
  25. ^ Ausiello, Michael (October 13, 2011). "Breaking: ABC Orders Full Seasons of Revenge and Suburgatory". TVLine. Retrieved October 13, 2011. 
  26. ^ "The New Queen of Mean: Madeleine Stowe of 'Revenge'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 
  27. ^ Golden Globes nominations: 'The Artist' leads pack of nominees
  28. ^ PEOPLE's 2012 World's Most Beautiful Woman, People, Retrieved April 28, 2012
  29. ^ Madeleine Stowe Shares Mom's Best Beauty Advice, People, April 17, 2012, Retrieved April 25, 2012
  30. ^ People Weekly. September 28, 1998, p. 29.
  31. ^ "abc News". Retrieved 2013.07.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  32. ^ The Team - Artists For Peace And Justice web site
  33. ^ "Twitter / USCHealthNews: Actress Madeleine Stowe takes". Retrieved 2014-06-04. 

External links[edit]