Michael Søren Madsen (born September 25, 1957) is an American actor, poet, and photographer. He has appeared in more than 150 films, most of them small independent films, though he has starred in central roles in such films as Reservoir Dogs, Free Willy, Donnie Brasco, and Kill Bill, in addition to a supporting role in Sin City. Madsen is also credited with voice work in several video games, including Grand Theft Auto III, True Crime: Streets of L.A. and DRIV3R.
Madsen was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Elaine (née Melson), an Emmy-winning poet, television producer, and playwright who often works for PBS, and Calvin Madsen, a firefighter. Madsen's mother left a career in corporate business to pursue a writing career. Madsen's paternal grandparents were Danish and his mother has Irish and Native American ancestry. His sister is actress Virginia Madsen, and he also has an older sister, Cheri.
Madsen's acting career began at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, where he served as an apprentice under actor John Malkovich.
In 1982, Madsen was cast by Edward McDougal for the lead in a small independent film, Against All Hope, his first movie. He then played a small role in...