It won’t be an exaggeration to suggest that Bailee Madison was born to act. Ever since she made her humble debut at the tender age of two in an office depot commercial, the Fort Lauderdale native has gone on to rack up the kind of acclaim and accolades that most of her peers can only dream of. Her excellent work in the 2009 drama film, Brothers, fetched her a Critics Choice Movie Award nomination. She equally stole the spotlight in the blockbuster 2011 comedy, Just Go with It.
Going up against a star-studded line-up comprising of the likes of Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, Madison stunned many with her portrayal of a young girl who is determined to become an actress. Her dramatic performances earned her rave reviews with the WSJ describing her as the 11-year-old who stole the movie from Sandler. Bailee Madison has also been quite prolific on the small screen, appearing in as much as 18 television shows. Her most notable outing on that medium remains the beloved Hallmark series, The Good Witch, which debuted in 2015.
Chronicling The Early Days Of Her Career And Eventual Berth On The Good Witch
Bailee Madison got her career start as a two-week-old infant in an Office Depot commercial. She subsequently went on to feature in ads for top-notch companies like Cadillac, SeaWorld, as well as Disney, before landing her first major acting role at the age of seven on the set of the 2006 drama film, Lonely Hearts. Since then, Bailee has built a truly impressive career in which she has featured in about 30 movies and 18 TV shows.
She has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Katie Holmes, Guy Peirce, Natalie Portman, Tobey McGuire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Minnie Driver, and Felicity Huffman, and received rave reviews for her work. One of the most enduring performances from her can been seen in the original Hallmark series, The Good Witch. The TV series follows the mother-daughter duo of Cassie and Grace Russell who have the unique gifts of insight and intuition. They use their powers for good but still have to cope with others in their community and some negative curses as well.
The Good Witch debuted on the Hallmark Channel in February 2015 and featured Iranian-American actress, Catherine Bell, in the role of Cassie while Bailee Madison portrayed Grace. Her character struggles to cope with the loss of her father, Jake, but the pain is softened by the presence of a neighbor, Dr. Sam, and his son, Nick. Grace becomes quite friendly with the duo and at some point wonders if she has feelings for Nick. She later gives up on that angle and forges relationships with other young fellows she comes across.
Reason For Her Surprise Departure From The Good Witch
Overall, Bailee Madison appeared in The Good Witch for about five years during which she helped grow it into the most-watched show on cable TV. Even though the series did not garner many awards from major ceremonies such as the Emmys or the Golden Globes, it still topped more-hyped shows such as Pretty Little Liars, Fargo, and The Americans in terms of viewership with an average of 2.5 million viewers for each episode. Such numbers even helped Hallmark to become the most-watched cable network on weekends and the show was also named top television series at the 2018 ASCAP Film and Music Television Awards.
Such a level of success meant that The Good Witch has been renewed multiple times. The latest renewal is the sixth season but Bailee has announced that she would not be reprising her role of Grace. In an emotional statement on Instagram in August 2019, the young lady stated that she was beyond grateful for all the memories she had accumulated on the show and described her departure as bittersweet. She thanked fans for loving and watching Grace grow up on their screens and announced that she was humbly looking forward to the next chapter.
This announcement sent fans of the show into a meltdown as they wondered if anything unsavory may have caused Madison’s departure. So far, it seems that nothing of such occurred and it was simply a matter of how life pans out. Madison’s TV mom, Catherine Bell, said as much in an interview she granted to ET in September 2019. She also stated that the location of filming, Canada, was also another motivating factor behind her co-star’s departure. Bell went on to reveal that she dearly misses Bailee on set but still checks in with her regularly. She expressed hopes that the Fort Lauderdale native would agree to come back and do a few more episodes on the show.
Whether this will materialize or not remains to be seen but one thing that is for sure is that Bailee Madison is not lacking for work to do. The actress has several great projects lined up, including the 2020 faith-based musical, A Week Away, which is available on Netflix.
Bailee Madison Credits Her Mom And Older Sister, Kaitlin As Her Biggest Inspiration
The fact that Bailee Madison started her career as a tender two weeks old should is a clue to the fact that her family played a pivotal part in her career as she couldn’t have done it herself. The Good Witch star hails from a large but close-knit family of nine comprising of her mother, Patricia Riley, as well as her dad, Michael Shawn Riley, who earns a living as an attorney. She also has about six siblings, including four brothers (two of whom are named Connor and Shawn), as well as two sisters (including one named Kaitlin nee Vilasuso).
Madison’s mom and sister, Kaitlin are both actresses and they influenced the young girl as well. According to The Good Witch star, she usually tagged along with her sister to auditions and during one of such, the casting directors noticed her and informed her that they were looking for a girl of her age to play a particular role. They asked her to try out and just like that, she landed her debut role in Lonely Hearts.
Bailee’s mom and sister stood by her side as she built up her young career; they made sure that she didn’t miss much of her studies and also accompanied her to shooting locations as far away as New Zealand. Both ladies continue to guide Bailee to date and she has described them as two of the most beautiful, inspiring, and one–of–a–kind women who continue to inspire her every day with the way they think, love, and work.
The Actress Is Also An Author And A Podcaster
Beyond acting, Bailee Madison has also expressed her creativity through writing and podcasting. The actress is the co-author of the 2018 novel, Losing Brave, a YA mystery novel about a young girl, Peyton, who has to cope with memory loss whilst trying to find out what happened to her missing twin sister, Dylan. Coincidentally, Madison stumbled into writing as a result of acting. Whilst filming and producing the 2016 movie, Annabel Hooper and The Ghosts of Nantucket, she brought a talented writer and friend, Stefne Miller, to help her work on the script. Miller then suggested she try her hands at writing and they ended up co-authoring Losing Brave.
When it comes to podcasting, Madison and her beloved sister, Kaitlin, co-host a podcast known as Just Between Us. The podcast was launched in November 2019 and features both sisters taking time from their busy schedules to share personal stories; interview thought leaders; and also offer advice on everyday dilemmas to their call-in listeners.