Madeleine M. Stowe (born August 18, 1958) is an American actress. She was born in Eagle Rock, a working class suburb of 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.
At the age of 10, Stowe began taking piano lessons with the aim of becoming a concert pianist — and also as a way of not having to socialize with other kids. Her Russian-born music teacher Sergei Tarnowsky (he taught Vladimir Horowitz before immigrating to the US), clearly had faith in her, teaching her from his deathbed. But when he died at the age of 96, she quit ("I just felt it was time to not be by myself anymore") — and at 18 she went on her first date. 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 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. The next year, director Robert Altman cast Stowe in Short Cuts, in which she gave one of her most acclaimed screen performances as the wife of a compulsive lying and adulterous police officer played by Tim Robbins. The following year, Madeleine was a blind musician in the thriller Blink, co-starring Aidan Quinn (14 years earlier, she had a guest role as a blind painter in Little House on the Prairie). The year after that, she was a sympathetic psychiatrist in the science-fiction movie Twelve Monkeys. Stowe postponed her acting career in 1996 in order to concentrate on motherhood. In 1998 she came back with The Proposition.
Stowe has been married to actor Brian Benben since 1982, after meeting when they acted in a TV film the previous year. The couple have a daughter, May (born 1996) and a son, and spend all their spare time on the ranch they own in Texas.
She most recently appeared in the Jeff Goldblum Detective Drama Raines on NBC