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Michael Madsen


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Date of Birth

25 September 1958, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Birth Name

Michael Soren Madsen


6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Biography

At 6' 2" and 190 pounds, Michael Madsen - the brother of actress Virginia Madsen - is equally adept at portraying heroic as well as villainous characters. There's just something in the way he delivers his lines with an underlying aggression masked behind his gravelly tones that makes you feel very uneasy about his true intentions! Madsen first learned his craft at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, where he worked under John Malkovich, one of the theater's founders. His first few film roles were minor ones, in such projects as Against All Hope (1982), Racing with the Moon (1984) and The Natural (1984). His work received considerable notice, however, after his knife-edged performance as deranged killer Vince Miller in Kill Me Again (1989) and then as Susan Sarandon's rough-edged boyfriend Jimmy in Thelma & Louise (1991). His big breakthrough, however, came as the sadistic jewel thief Mr. Blonde in Quentin Tarantino's low-budget hit Reservoir Dogs (1992). Movie audiences were glued to their seats as Madsen playfully danced around a tied-down and terrified police officer, slicing him with a knife and splashing gasoline all over the petrified man, all to the cheery tunes of "Stealer's Wheels' "Stuck In the Middle With You." Not to be typecast, Madsen surprised many with his performance as foster parent Glen Greenwood in the hit family movie Free Willy (1993) before returning to another criminal role as bank robber Rudy Travis in the remake of the Steve McQueen heist flick The Getaway (1994), and then back again as Glen Greenwood in Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995). Madsen continues to turn in edge-of-the-seat performances as morally bankrupt individuals on the wrong side of the law, as in his intense on-screen showings in Donnie Brasco (1997), Mulholland Falls (1996), and High Noon (2000) (TV). In 2003 he teamed up again with Tarantino in both "volumes" of Tarantino's magnum martial arts/revenge opus Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) as the coldly evil Budd (aka "Sidewinder"). In addition to his film work, Madsen has contributed dialogue to two of Sony PlayStations's biggest-selling games, Grand Theft Auto III (2001) (VG) and Driv3r (2004) (VG), as well as writing several books of his own poetry. Although uncomfortable with fame, Madsen's star continues to shine in Hollywood and his droll, yet captivating acting style is ensuring him a steady flow of work as one on the screen's favorite "heavies".

IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44)


De Anna Morgan (15 April 1996 - present) 3 children

Georganne LaPiere (? - ?) (divorced)

Jeannine Bisignano (? - ?) (divorced) 2 children

Trade Mark

Wears Ray Ban sunglasses in almost all of his movies.


Brother of actress Virginia Madsen and son of Cal Madsen, a retired firefighter. He also has another sibling, apart from Virginia.

Has worn the same pinky ring in numerous movies.

Announced the second greatest movie villain of all time by Maxim Magazine's "Greatest Movie Villains of all Time" for his character in Reservoir Dogs (1992) of "Mr. Blonde".

His character of Mr. Blonde was one of the 200 nominees on the American Film Institute's list of 100 years of the best Heroes and Villains. He was also the only character from Reservoir Dogs (1992) who was nominated. However, he didn't make it into the top 50.

Dennis Hopper wrote the introduction to his book of short stories and poems "Burning in Paradise".

Former brother-in-law of Danny Huston.

Former brother-in-law of Cher.

Children with Jeannine Bisignano: Christian (born 1990) and Max (born 1994). Children with De Anna Morgan: Hudson Lee (born 1995), Calvin Michael (born 1997) and Luke Ray (born 2005).

In the early days of his acting career, he considered changing his name to "Michael Hood."

States only five films as ones he's even remotely proud of: _Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)_, Donnie Brasco (1997), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Species (1995), and Free Willy (1993).

Was very uncomfortable filming the torture scenes in Reservoir Dogs (1992), especially in the scenes in which he was required to hit Kirk Baltz.

He points to Robert Mitchum as his idol and role model. Many similarities are apparent, as both are large, intimidating "tough guys" who are generally underrated and Madsen (as did Mitchum) doesn't always appear in films for their artistic merit. They both also share a love for poetry. He and Mitchum also both appeared in War and Remembrance (1988) (TV), though they never had any scenes together.

Was set to play "Sean Harrison" in the TV Series "Hawaii" (2004) but was replaced by Michael Biehn.

Voice can be heard in a Boeing commercial aired on MSNBC.

Owned the yellow Cadillac that his character Mr Blonde drove in Reservoir Dogs (1992).

Was offered role of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction (1994) but turned it down because he couldn't get out of rehearsal for Wyatt Earp (1994).

His paternal grandparents (Soren and Anna Marie Madsen) immigrated from Denmark in the early 1900s.

His father is of Danish descent, his mother is of Irish and American Indian descent

For his past, present and ongoing commitment to independent film, was presented with the inaugural Rebel Award by good friend/actor Harvey Keitel at Rebelfest 2005, Toronto.

Was considered for the role of Sergeant Mike Horvath in Saving Private Ryan (1998). The role eventually went to Madsen's friend, Tom Sizemore.

He released the only authorized, in-print collection and 10 Year Anniversary Edition of his poetry called "The Complete Poetic Works of Michael Madsen, Vol I: 1995-2005/," available at Amazon.com.

One of his dogs is "Buftea", a recent addition. He found it emaciated, wild and roaming the forests of Romania while he was filming The Last Drop (2005). Madsen gradually tamed the dog, adopted it, named it after the town in Romania where they were shooting and whisked it back to beach-front Malibu.

He has said in an interview once that his feminine characteristic would be that he has soft feet.

His maternal Grandparents are Lance and Lavinia.

"Burning in Paradise" won the Independent Firecracker Award for Poetry in 1998.

In 2002 he was presented an award for his work with the Shriners Hospital For Children.

Good friends with Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton and Nick Nolte.

Has worked as a car mechanic, a landscaper and a hospital orderly before turning to acting.

Married his wife, De Anna Morgan, in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

He was originally asked to play "Harland", the man who rapes Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise (1991), but he refused the part and, when director Ridley Scott asked what part he would like instead, Madsen asked if he could play "Jimmy Lennox", the well meaning but short tempered boyfriend of Susan Sarandon's Louise. Scott initially scoffed at the idea, but Madsen got the part of "Jimmy" after having lunch with Susan Sarandon.

He painted houses, repaired cars, worked as an orderly in a hospital and pumped gas in his late teens and early twenties before he moved to Los Angeles.

Hobbies include cars and bikes.

Has a Parrot called Marlon (after Marlon Brando).

Uncle of Virginia Madsen's son Jack

Has 2 sons with Jeannine Bisignano: Christian and Max.

Godfather of his sons Hudson and Calvin is Quentin Tarantino

Has lent his voice to several seasons of "Animal Precinct" (2001) on The Animal Planet.

Stepfather of Cody (born 1987), son of De Anna Morgan and Brian Setzer.

Was offered the role of Seth Gecko in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), but couldn't accept due to scheduling conflicts.

The character of Officer Wendell 'Bud' White in L.A. Confidential (1997) was written with Madsen in mind, but Russell Crowe got the part.

According to his interview in Maxim magazine, he doesn't own a cell phone nor does he use the Internet to send e-mails; he still writes letters by hand.

Lives in Malibu with his family.

His parents, Cal and Elaine, divorced when Michael was 9.

He has an older sister named Cheri. She's the owner of a restaurant in Wisconsin.

David Carradine and his present Wife Annie were married at his home by Vicki Roberts who officiated and pronounced them husband and wife.

September 2007 - outstanding achievement award in acting at the 13th annual Temecula Valley International Film & Music Festival.

Good friend Harvey Keitel served as godfather to his son Max.

Voiced a central character in two competing video game franchises. He was the voice of Tanner in Driv3r and Toni Cipriani in Grand Theft Auto III.

Personal Quotes

"Well, one thing for sure, I won't be remembered for Free Willy (1993). Or maybe I will".

"Kids are a great excuse for you to stop acting like one". (Men's Health, March, 2004)

"Encourage your kids' artistic side. Toughen up everything else".

"Your children don't have to fear you to respect you".

Is it really selling out if it feeds your family?

'I encourage my boys to do stuff in the arts, but I'm also an advocate of not taking any sh.., I have a heavy bag and every morning the boys go three 3-minute rounds on the heavy bag with the gloves".

The oddest thing is when children recognize me from Free Willy (1993) and their parents recognize me from Reservoir Dogs (1992). The kids are, like, 'There's Glen!' and the parents are, like, 'Don't go near that guy!'

"I'm a leading man trapped inside a bad guy's body".

"You get these horrifying straight-to-video things for very little money, then you go to the Cannes Film Festival and they got some poster of you, 40ft high, in the worst movie in the world. You're like, "Oh my God. Take the fucking thing down!"'

"Maybe I was just born in the wrong era, man. I'm a bit of a throwback to the days of black and white movies. Those guys back then, they had a certain kind of directness about them. A lot of the screenplays, the plots were very simplistic - they gave rise to a type of anti-hero that maybe I suit better." (2004)

"L.A. Confidential (1997) was written with me in mind, but 'Russell Crowe (I)' got the part. Go figure".

"Great film, sure, but not a payday. Al and Johnny [Depp] got all the money. There was none left for me." - On Donnie Brasco (1997).

I've been in a few brawls in my time.

I probably made a few pictures I shouldn't have done, but I have four sons and I have to pay the rent. If you have a decision to make about whether or not you can buy groceries at the market or whether or not you're going to make a bad movie, you're going to make a bad movie.

My career has been very strange. My career is like a heart monitor. I get involved in a good project now and then to keep things going. And then I make things that I work on that I hope are going to be good so I can make a living and keep a roof over the heads of those little monsters I have in my house. You know, every movie you make can't be great, no matter who you are. Even Brando made some clinkers.

I grew up in a time when I watched actors like Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum ... those are the movies that I liked and I responded to. They're all gone now and there's no talent like that anymore, there's no immensity of talent that exists like that in the motion picture industry. Even the movies are turning into a bunch of junk. They think if they put a handsome face in there or a good-looking body and they surround it with enough cars blowing up, that it is going to be entertaining ... but in the long run it's just not going to last. It's all empty, there's no story anymore ... the same thing is happening to the motion picture industry that is happening to the landscape.

It's a movie about fighters, not fighting. You know, I got over seeing myself on screen a long time ago, but watching this film really affects me. (Speaking of his role in Strength and Honour)

I say my [tough guy] acting days are over, But then [Humphrey] Bogart made 30 pictures playing a [tough guy], and it wasn't until 'Maltese Falcon' that he was thought of as a leading man.

I like to diversify. And I am all about longevity. I want to be doing this for as long as I can. I have made, I think, 72 pictures now. And I have made a lot of studio stuff and I have made a lot of low-budget stuff. The fun of making independent films is that they are a lot more open and it is a lot easier to ad lib and create a character and collaborate with the director. With a studio picture, you are a lot more controlled and your whole environment and your whole presentation is a lot more monitored.

Where Are They Now

(July 2006) He's shooting House (2007) in Lodz, Poland; staying in the Grand Hotel.



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