The early years
Madeleine Stowe Mora was born on August 18, 1958, in a working-class community next to Los Angeles named Eagle Rock, California. Daughter of Robert Stowe, an Oregon civil-engineer who died of complications from multiple sclerosis in 1983, and Mireya Mora, an immigrant from Costa Rica, she was raised in Glendale (California), along with her younger siblings, brother Robert (born in 1962) and sister Diane (born in 1960).
A quite and bashful girl, Madeleine put her first love on the piano and began training for a career as a concert pianist at age 10, with Vladimir Horowitz’s childhood instructor Sergei Tarnowsky. “Practicing for hours every day was an excuse to stay away from other kids,” she recalled. She was one of Tarnowsky last students. He gave her lessons from his death bed, getting her to play while he listened behind a trellis. When he finally died, at the age of 96, she quit. “I just felt it was time to not be by myself anymore,” she stated. And so, at eighteen, she went on her first date.
The 1970′s : first steps on TV.
Madeleine studied cinema and journalism at the University of Southern California (USC) for a short time (she cut classes to watch plays) before taking up acting at the Beverley Hills’ Solaris Theater. In the californian theater circuit, Stowe attracted the attention of Richard Dreyfuss’ agent. This serendipitous turn of events enabled Stowe to get some parts in Tv series andd Tv films.
Her first professional acting job arrived in 1978 with a one-episodic turn as Anna in the series Baretta, followed by a string of TV work such as guest appearances in “The Amazing Spider-Man” (1978), Barnaby Jones (1979), “Little House on the Prairie” (1980); She also got bigger parts in TV films such as The Nativity (1978) and The Deerslayer (1978), based on a James Fennimore Cooper book, as well as in the NBC miniseries Beulah Land (1980).
The 1980′s: from TV to Big Screen.
In 1981 Stowe teamed up with director Richard C. Sarafian who had her play the part of Ruth Lasker in the miniseries The Gangster Chronicles, which starred Brian Benben with whom she soon fall in love in real life. 5 years later, in 1986, Madeleine and Brian Benben (born on June 18, 1956) get married.
That same year, after nearly a ten-year presence on the TV screen, Madeleine finnaly starred in a feature film, Tropical Snow, that saddly sat on the shelf for three years before getting release, but in 1987, Stowe delivered a breakout big screen role when director John Badham cast her in the supporting role of Maria McGuire in the action Stakeout, co-starring with Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez. She quickly added Worth Winning (1989) to her film credits, before earning further notice as Mireya Mendez in Tony Scott’s Revenge (1990), opposite Kevin Costner and Anthony Quinn. She also worked with Jack Nicholson in The Two Jakes (1990) before to give a powerful portrayal as a political captive vocally infighting with Alan Rickman in Closet Land (1991).
The 1990′s : a busy Actress!
By the time she took on the role of the troubled wife in the thriller Unlawful Entry (1992), opposite Kurt Russell and Ray Liotta, the actress’ profile in Hollywood boosted. Her star shone even brighter when she co-starred as Cora Munro, the frontierswoman who falls in love with Daniel Day-Lewis, in The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Michael Mann’s acclaimed adaptation of the James Fenimore Cooper novel.
Then, more major film roles followed. In 1993, she had the opportunity to work with renowned director Robert Altman in Short Cuts. Offering one of her best screen appearances as Tim Robbins’ long-suffering wife Sherri Shepard; Stowe’s performance was critically applauded and she won a 1994 National Society of Film Critics for Best Supporting Actress. Additionally, she took home a Golden Globe and a Venice Film Festival for Best Ensemble Cast, awards shared with costars that included Andie MacDowell, Bruce Davison, Jack Lemmon and Julianne Moore. The same year, she briefly reprised her role from the 1987 Stakeout in an uncredited cameo in the sequel Another Stakeout.
Stowe then starred as the touching blind woman in the thriller Blink (1994), had a female lead opposite Ed Harris in China Moon (1994) and headlined the feminist Western Bad Girls (1994). She bounced back in the subsequent year by giving notable turn as a compassionate psychiatrist named Kathryn Railly in Terry Gilliam’s sci-fi thriller Twelve Monkeys, which also featured Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. For her good efforts, she was handed a Universe Reader’s Choice from the Sci-Fi Universe Magazine for Best Actress in a Genre Motion Picture in 1996.
That same year she gave birth to a daughter named May Theodora Benben (born on June 1996) and took some distance with “Hollywood” by moving to Texas with all family.
After a 2 years break, the appealing actress made her way back to big screen. She starred in the drama The Proposition (1998), co-starring with William Hurt and Kenneth Branagh, and in Playing by Heart (1998), which cast her in the supporting role of a dishonest wife named Gracie, alongside Angelina Jolie and Gillian Anderson. Stowe rounded out the decade with a good part as Warr. Off. Sara Sunhill in the Simon West-helmed The General’s Daughter (1999), starring John Travolta. With the role, she nabbed a Blockbuster Entertainment nod for Favorite Supporting Actress-Suspense.
The 2000′s : a discreet Actress…
She then took another hiatus and didn’t make film until in 2002 when she collaborated with Gary Sinise in the sci-fi thriller Impostor. The same year, she replaced Faith Hill to play the female lead in We Were Soldiers, along side Mel Gibson and she co-starred with Sylvester Stallone in Avenging Angelo (2003) before to join Norman Reedus, Bijou Phillips and Mischa Barton in the horror film Octane (2003).
More recently, the career of the actress seems to have taken the direction of television. She was seen in the CBS telefilm Saving Milly (2005) and, in 2006 , she went on to star in FOX’s drama pilot Southern Comfort. Saddly, Southern Comfort’s pilot wasn’t picked up by the Studio, but few months later, the actress signed to star in NBC mi-season Raines, wich stars Jeff Goldblum in the title role.
While not working, Madeleine divides her time between Santa Monica (California) and her ranch near Fredericksburg (Texas).