Julie Madison is originally portrayed an oft-imperiled socialite/actress who dates Bruce Wayne when not being rescued by Batman. Most significantly, Julie is used as a pawn in the vampiric Monk's battle with the Dark Knight. Julie is engaged to Bruce Wayne for a while, until she ends the relationship because he wouldn't find a serious career; of course, she did not know about his secret identity.
She is revealed to have been an actress in Detective Comics #40. She made her last appearance in the early series in Detective Comics #49, where she is targeted for revenge by Basil Karlo, the original Clayface, because she starred in the remake of one of Karlo's films. It is later revealed that she becomes a star under the stage name "Portia Storme." In the same story she ends her engagement to Bruce Wayne and dresses as Robin in a plan to fool Clayface, becoming the first female to don the costume.
Julie Madison reappears in two World's Finest stories in the 1970s as Princess Portia, ruler of the fictional country of Moldacia. This was intended as a loose parallel to Grace Kelly becoming Princess Grace of Monaco.
Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths
The six issue mini-series Batman and the Monster Men by Matt Wagner, published in 2006, is set early in (the post-Crisis version of) Batman's career, and re-introduces Julie Madison. This version of the character is a law student, and the daughter of Norman Madison, a failing businessman who borrows money from mobster Sal Maroni. Bruce Wayne cares deeply for Julie, but is reluctant to tell her the secret of his nighttime activities. However, Julie herself suspects that Bruce is hiding something from her.
Julie takes on further importance in Wagner's follow-up mini-series Batman and the Mad Monk. Like Monster Men, this series retells an early story from Batman's publishing history, his conflict with the vampiric villain, The Monk. As in the original, Julie sleepwalks into the Monk's lair where she is bitten by the vampire, becoming his thrall. The Monk attempts to manipulate Julie into signing over her father's finances to his supernatural cult.
In the end, Batman saves Julie, but her father is killed by Maroni's thugs. Distraught, she leaves Bruce and Gotham and goes to Africa as a member of the UN Peace Corps.
A version of Julie appeared in the 1997 film Batman & Robin, played by Elle Macpherson. Many of her scenes, including one in which she is stabbed to death by Poison Ivy, were edited out of the film's final cut.
When the comic book Batman Adventures relaunched in 2003, early issues featured Julie Madison as Bruce Wayne's steady girlfriend. He nearly proposes to her before discovering that she is only interested in his money, and that she is prepared to go to deadly lengths to preserve their relationship.
Julie Madison has been featured as a love interest for Batman in Elseworlds stories, including the Gotham by Gaslight sequel Master of the Future; Dark Knight Dynasty; and Superman & Batman: Generations.
In Legends of the Dark Knight #94, a group of people in an elevator discuss Batman. One of these is an 80-year-old Julie Madison, who recalls her encounters with him in the 1930s, an homage to the Golden Age stories.