Madeleine Stowe (born August 18, 1958) is an American actress. She was born in Eagle Rock, a community next to Los Angeles, California, the eldest of three sisters. Her father was British, while her mother had immigrated from Costa Rica as a young woman. Her father suffered from multiple sclerosis, which threw a shadow of sadness over her childhood.
When she was 10, Stowe began taking piano lessons with the aim of becoming a concert pianist, but she gave up some years later following her instructor's death. She then studied cinema and journalism at the University of Southern California. Not overly interested in her classes, Stowe volunteered to do performances at the Solaris, a Beverly Hills theater, where a movie agent saw her in a play, and subsequently got her several offers of appearances in movies TV and films.
For nearly fifteen years Stowe appeared mostly in minor or supporting roles in movies and on TV. A few of her performances from this period became, however, well-known to the public, as was the case for Stakeout (1987), where she played opposite Richard Dreyfuss, and Revenge, (1990), which co-starred Kevin Costner. In 1992 Stowe finally landed a leading role in The Last of the Mohicans, which also starred Daniel Day-Lewis.
Thereafter, several major film roles followed. Director Robert Altman cast Stowe in Short Cuts, in which she gave one of her best screen performances as the wife of compulsive liar Tim Robbins. She was a touching blind musician in the thriller Blink, co-starring Aidan Quinn, and a sympathetic psychiatrist in the science-fiction movie Twelve Monkeys. Stowe postponed her acting career in '96 in order to concentrate on motherhood. In 1998 she came back with The Proposition.
Stowe is married to actor Brian Benben, with whom she acted in a TV film in 1981. The couple have a daughter and spend all their spare time on the ranch they own in Texas.