Born and raised in Chicago, the actress first appeared before audiences in David Lynch's science fiction epic, "Dune." However, it wasn't until Madsen's portrayal of a Catholic school girl who was painfully in love with a prison boot camp inmate in the low-budget feature "Fire with Fire," that Madsen gained wide-range audience appeal.
Perhaps best known for her roles in such features as Francis Ford Coppola's "The Rainmaker" and Rob Reiner's "Ghosts of Mississippi," Madsen has appeared in a variety of independent films including "Almost Salinas" opposite John Mahoney. Her other feature-film credits include "Candyman," "Highlander 2," "Mr. North" and "The Haunting" alongside Liam Neeson. Madsen will appear later this year in the independent film "American Gun" opposite Academy Award winner James Coburn.
Most recently Madsen guest-starred as the wife of a U.S. Senator involved in a high-profile murder case on an episode of the "The Practice," a role which she reprised in another episode. Her other television credits include several guest star appearances on NBC's "Frasier" and the sci-fi series "Earth 2." Madsen has starred in several TV movies, including her role as the mother of two boys who falsely accuse her of molesting them in "Just Ask My Children" and "Crossfire Trail" alongside Tom Selleck.
Away from the set, Madsen enjoys her Pilates, spinning workout classes, weight training and gardening. She currently resides with her son in Los Angeles. Her birthday September 11.