Family & Companions
A highly versatile actress, Madeleine Stowe possessed an ethereal beauty that belied the intense and emotionally complex characters that she brought to life on the big screen. After many years of playing either the tortured or swooning love interest to several of Hollywood's biggest leading men like Kevin Costner and Daniel Day-Lewis, Stowe made her film debut in the action comedy "Stakeout" (1987), and later surprised critics with her breakout performance in the acclaimed classic "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992), as a hard-hitting aristocrat who survives in the forests of Colonial America. Following a turn in the popular thriller "Unlawful Entry" (1992), she impressed as a clear-eyed wife of a lying cop in the biting comedy "Short Cuts" (1993) and had her first leading role in the taut thriller "Blink" (1994), before joining the mostly female cast of "Bad Girls" (1994). Stowe went on to star opposite Bruce Willis in the sci-fi thriller "12 Monkeys" (1995) before stepping away from acting for three years to focus on being a mother. After her return role in "The Proposition" (1998), Stowe appeared in "The General's Daughter" (1999), "Imposter" (2001) and "We Were Soldiers" (2002), only to leave features to concentrate on television, culminating in her praised performance on the drama series "Revenge" (ABC, 2011-15). Throughout her career, Stowe consistently proved that she was willing and able to tackle more exciting roles usually reserved for the most seasoned and powerful actresses in Hollywood.
Madeleine Marie Stowe Mora was born on August 18, 1958 in Los Angeles. The daughter of an American civil engineer father and a Costa Rican mother, Stowe grew up in Eagle Rock, CA. Before she took up acting, playing the piano was her passion. Beginning at age 10, Stowe trained every day to become a concert pianist, but when her instructor died in 1976, she also stopped playing. Stowe instead studied cinema and journalism at the University of Southern California, and then took up acting at the Solaris Theater in Beverly Hills. She also worked odd jobs at the Solaris, where she met a talent agent who helped her land a minor part on the crime drama "Baretta" (ABC, 1975-78). Stowe followed it up with numerous guest starring roles on popular shows such as the beloved family drama "Little House on the Prairie" (NBC, 1974-1983) where she appeared as a blind painter, the medical series "Trapper John, M.D." (CBS, 1979-1986), and the historical miniseries "The Gangster Chronicles" (NBC, 1981), where she met actor Brian Benben - best known for his role on the groundbreaking HBO series "Dream On" (1990-96) - whom she would marry in 1986.
In 1987, Stowe appeared in her first big-budget film feature, the buddy cop comedy "Stakeout" opposite Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez. She played the ex-wife of an escaped convict who is under the surveillance of two wisecracking cops (Dreyfuss and Estevez), and who finds herself falling for one of them. The movie was a box office and critical hit, and spawned a less-appreciated sequel, "Another Stakeout" (1993), in which Stowe reprised her role. Named one of "The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World" by People magazine in 1994, Stowe steadily established herself as a dramatic actress, albeit initially in damsel-in-distress roles. She played Kevin Costner's tragic love interest in the thriller "Revenge" (1990), and co-starred as Kurt Russell's wife in "Unlawful Entry" (1992). Stowe's breakout role was playing a feisty general's daughter who holds her own against Native American tribes in the wild with the help of Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) in Michael Mann's award-winning drama "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992). Her critically acclaimed performance in the epic adventure, which grossed more than $75 million worldwide, elevated Stowe from supporting player to an A-list movie star. Stowe next joined the ensemble cast of director Robert Altman's comedy "Short Cuts" (1993), giving one of her most memorable performances as a spunky wife of an adulterous cop (Tim Robbins).
Stowe was riveting in her first starring vehicle, the 1994 taut thriller "Blink," as a blind musician who, shortly after recovering her eyesight, faintly sees a serial killer. That same year, Stowe slightly switched gears and turned on the charm as a gun-toting prostitute in the action-Western drama "Bad Girls" opposite Mary Stuart Masterson, Andie MacDowell and Drew Barrymore. In 1995, she went back to her dramatic roots in the post-apocalyptic film "Twelve Monkeys," playing a sympathetic psychiatrist opposite Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. She rounded out the decade with a starring role opposite John Travolta in the blockbuster hit "The General's Daughter" (1999) where she appeared as a warrant officer investigating the mysterious death of the daughter of a politically ambitious U.S. general. After a successful film career for almost a decade, Stowe's career unexpectedly came to a halt so she could spend more time with Benben and their children. She spent the better part of the 2000s floundering in a handful of TV movies and a few box office flops, including "Avenging Angelo" (2002) opposite Sylvester Stallone and the late Anthony Quinn. In 2007, Stowe starred on the short-lived supernatural drama "Raines" (NBC) about an eccentric cop (Jeff Goldblum) who solves cases with the help of dead crime victims.
In 2007, Stowe starred on the short-lived supernatural drama "Raines" (NBC) about an eccentric cop (Jeff Goldblum) who solves cases with the help of dead crime victims. A mid-season replacement that was introduced in March 2007, the show aired a scant seven episodes before it was effectively canceled that April. Meanwhile, Stowe starred in another made-for-television movie, "The Christmas Hope" (Lifetime Television, 2009), playing a mother whose loss of her son (Garth Merkeley) spurs her to devote herself to needy children despite the strain put upon her marriage to her husband (James Remar). Returning to regular series television work, Stowe starred on the highly anticipated drama, "Revenge" (ABC, 2011-15), a loose adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. The series featured Emily VanCamp as a young woman who adopts a new identity and returns to The Hamptons, where she plans to exact her revenge on the people responsible for her father being wrongly implicated in a terrorist plot. Stowe played a rich and powerful matriarch who was once in love with the girl's father, a role that earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series.
By Candy Cuenco
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Special)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
At age 10, began training to become a concert pianist with Sergei Tarnowsky
At Tarnowsky's death, abandoned playing piano
Professional acting debut on an episode of "Baretta" (ABC)
TV-movie acting debut, NBC's "The Deerslayer", based on the novel by James Fennimore Cooper
Played Mary in the ABC TV-movie "The Nativity"
Co-starred in NBC miniseries "Beulah Land"
First released film appearance, "Stakeout"; also first onscreen collaboration with Aidan Quinn
Acted in first film, "Tropical Snow"
Co-starred opposite Kevin Costner in "Revenge"
Breakthrough role starring opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in "The Last of the Mohicans," based on a James Fennimore Cooper novel
Played Kurt Russell's wife in the thriller "Unlawful Entry"
Briefly reprised her role from "Stakeout" in an uncredited cameo in "Another Stakeout"
Offered a strong turn as the wife of an adulterous husband in Robert Altman's "Short Cuts"
Had first leading role as a blind woman who witnesses a murder in "Blink"; starred opposite Aidan Quinn
Cast as a psychiatrist in "12 Monkeys"
Appeared as a cheating wife in "Playing By Heart"
Returned to features after a three-year absence as co-star with Kenneth Branagh and William Hurt in "The Proposition"
Co-starred with Gary Sinise in the sci-fi thriller "Impostor"
Starred in the A&E miniseries version of "The Magnificent Ambersons"
Played the title role in the CBS TV movie "Saving Milly"
Co-starred with Eric Roberts and Lee Tergesen in the Fox TV movie "Southern Comfort"
Cast as a shrink on the short-lived crime drama series "Raines" (NBC)
Acted alongside James Remar and Ian Ziering in the Lifetime holiday-themed "The Christmas Hope"
Returned to series television as villainess Victoria Grayson on ABC's "Revenge"