Childhood & Early Life
Amy Marie Madigan was born on September 11, 1950, in Chicago, Illinois, USA to John Madigan and Dolores Hanlon. Her father was a well-known journalist and her mother was an administrative assistant and an amateur actress. She had two siblings, Jack and Jim.
She attained primary education at the St. Philip Neri School in Chicago and then joined the adjacent ‘Aquinas Dominican High School.’ Having developed an interest in acting, she performed in various school plays.
In the 1960s, she started studying music, specifically the piano, at the ‘Chicago Conservatory of Music’.
She graduated with a degree in philosophy from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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From the late 1960s, Amy Madigan actively pursued a career in music and became a touring musician for the next 10 years of her life.
In hopes of furthering her music career, she moved to Los Angeles in 1974. Soon, she became a lead vocalist for the rock band ‘Jelly’, and they released their first and only album ‘A True Story’ in 1977.
In 1978, in an effort to promote the band album, she did a nude photo shoot for the ‘Playboy’ magazine where she was covered only in jelly.
Through the 1970s, she continued to play the piano and tour the US with various bands.
After living a tough life on the road, at the age of 29, she decided to end her music career and become an actress. She took up a job as a waitress and enrolled at the famous ‘Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute’ in Los Angeles.
Soon, she began auditioning for plays and parts in television. In 1981, she made her television debut on an episode of ‘Hart to Hart’ and followed it up with small parts in the television film ‘Crazy Times’ and TV show ‘CHiPs’.
Her acting career took off as she started getting a steady stream of work. In 1982, she made her film debut in ‘Love Child’ for an award-nominated character role of ‘Terry Jean Moore’.
In 1983, she continued to feature in big screen films like ‘Love Letters’ and television films like ‘The Day After’ and ‘Travis McGee’.
In 1984, she worked in films like ‘Streets of Fire’ and ‘Places in the Heart’, where she also met her future husband, Ed Harris. She featured in a few episodes of an Australian miniseries ‘Eureka Stockade’ in the same year.
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In 1985 came her Academy Award-nominated role of Gene Hackman’s daughter, Sunny Mackenzie-Sobel, in the film ‘Twice in a Lifetime’. She was also seen in the film ‘Alamo Bay’ and had another award-winning role as ‘Deedee Johnson’ in the television film ‘The Laundromat’.
In 1987, she made an award-winning Off-Broadway theatre debut in the play ‘The Lucky Spot’.
In 1989 came the next big role of her career that of Kevin Costner’s wife Annie in the sports-fantasy film ‘Field of Dreams’. The same year, she also starred in the comedy film ‘Uncle Buck’, and portrayed the award-winning role of Sarah Weddington in the television film ‘Roe vs. Wade’.
In 1992, she made her debut on Broadway as Stella Kowalski in the play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’
In 1996, she produced and acted in the television film ‘Riders of the Purple Sage’.
From 1997-99, she delivered award-nominated performances in films like ‘Loved’ and television films like ‘A Bright Shining Lie’.
In 2000, she teamed up with her husband to act in the Oscar-winning movie ‘Pollock’ that was also produced and directed by him. She played the role of wealthy art collector Peggy Guggenheim in the movie.
From 2001-02, she was part of television films like ‘Shot in the Heart’ and ‘The Laramie Project’.
From 2003-05, she had a recurring role in the HBO Great Depression-era series ‘Carnivàle’.
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From 2006-07, she had notable appearances in television series like ‘The Path to 9/11’ and ‘Criminal Minds’, and award-nominated films like ‘Gone Baby Gone.’
In 2008, she bagged the recurring role of Dr. Katharine Wyatt in the super hit medical drama series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.
From 2009 to 2015, she appeared in several high-profile TV shows like ‘ER’, ‘Law & Order’, ‘Memphis Beat’, ‘The Dust Bowl’, etc. She executive produced and acted in the film ‘Once Fallen’ along with memorable appearances in films like ‘Virginia’, ‘Sweetwater’, ‘Grey Lady’, etc.
In 2016, she played the role of ‘Halie’ in the Off-Broadway theatre production of ‘Buried Child’, which later transferred to the U.K.’s West End theatre district. She also had appearances in TV shows like ‘Grace and Frankie’ and ‘How to Get Away with Murder’.
She was last seen in the 2018 film ‘American Woman’ and in a few episodes of the TV show ‘Ice’.
In 2019, she will be seen in films like ‘The Hunt’ and ‘The Last Full Measure’.