Madeline Ashton is one of the two protagonist villains in the black comedy film Death Becomes Her, alongside her rival Helen Sharp. The two women have known each other since they were schoolgirls, and have been rivals ever since. She begins as a vain actress who manages to seduce two of Helen's boyfriends, and finally her fiancee, plastic surgeon Ernest, driving Helen into depression, and eventually to plan revenge.

Several years after her marriage, Madeline regularly abuses her now husband Ernest, who has become an undertaker. Her acting career is suffering now as she begins showing her age. Her anxiety increases when she sees Helen reemerge as a beautiful and successful author. Madeline realizes Helen is trying to steal Ernest back. She becomes obsessed with beauty and youth to the point she accepts an invitation to meet a strange woman who turns out to be an immortal witch who gives her a potion that grants her similiar immortality (for a high sum of money).

Madeline's immortality comes at a heavy price however when she abuses Ernest once more, driving him to push her down the stairs - breaking her neck (amongst many other bones). Thanks to the potion however, she cannot die. Ernest, still afraid to disobey his wife, takes her out of the morgue and uses his skills as an undertaker to fix her so she looks alive. When Helen arrives at the house, Madeline takes her revenge and shoots her through the stomach, only to realize Helen has drunk the potion too, and cannot die.

Since they are both physically dead, the two women make up and scheme to make Ernest immortal so he can continue to repair their bodies and make them look young and alive. Ernest, fed up with the two women, rejects the offer of immortality and flees. Madeline and Helen are horrified to realize they will have to stay together forever and keep restoring their own bodies, since no one else can be trusted with their secret.

Years later they attend Ernest's funeral, hearing that he has lived a full and happy life without them. The two are now withered husks, essentially living zombies held together by glue and makeup. When Helen trips down the stairs outside the church, Madeline decides to let her fall, but not before Helen pulls her down with her. At the bottom of the steps, both women shatter into pieces, but their heads are still living, and presumably will continue for all eternity.

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