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Karen Allen

Karen Allen returns to the role of fiery adventurer Marion Ravenwood, which she originated in Steven Spielberg and George Lucas's phenomenal box office record-breaker Raiders of the Lost Ark. Allen started her acting career when she joined the Washington Theatre Laboratory Company in Washington, D.C. in 1974. Two years later, she made her film debut in the award-winning short film The Whidjitmaker. The following year, Allen moved back to New York to study at the Lee Strasberg Institute and, over the years, has appeared on and off-Broadway in such productions as Extremities, The Country Girl, The Miracle Worker, Speaking in Tongues and Miss Julie.

Her studies paid off in 1978 when she made her major film debut as Katy in National Lampoon's Animal House, which became one of the biggest hits of that year. She followed this with roles in Philip Kaufman's The Wanderers (1979), Cruising (1980) and Woody Allen's Manhattan (1979) before her performance in Rob Cohen's 1980 drama A Small Circle of Friends caught the attention of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who cast her as feisty bar owner Marion Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Ark. She followed that with her 1982 Broadway debut in The Monday After the Miracle, for which she won the Theatre World Award for Best New Actress. In 1984, Allen starred in Until September and John Carpenter's Starman, opposite Jeff Bridges.

Allen won the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films' Saturn Award for Best Actress in 1982 for Raiders and was nominated again in 1985 for Starman. In 1988, she was nominated for Best Supporting Female at the Independent Spirit Awards and for Best Foreign Actress at Spain's Sant Jordi Awards in Barcelona for her performance in Paul Newman's screen adaptation of The Glass Menagerie.

Allen's more recent credits include The Basket (1999) and Wolfgang Petersen's The Perfect Storm (2000), in which she co-starred with George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Diane Lane. She also appeared in Shaka Zulu: The Citadel (2001) for television and in Todd Field's acclaimed drama In the Bedroom.

Her most recent film, Poster Boy, was featured at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival.

Allen, who has a son, Nick — born in 1990, teaches and directs theater at Simon's Rock College of Bard. She also founded Berkshire Mountain Yoga, started a knitwear design studio in 2003 called Karen Allen – Fiber Arts Studio and, in 2005, opened a knitwear design shop in Great Barrington, MA, Karen Allen Fiber Arts.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2008.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Karen Allen Facts

Birth NameKaren Jane Allen
BirthdayOctober 5, 1951 (72)
BirthplaceCarrollton, Illinois, USA
Height5' 7" (1m70)  How tall is Karen Allen compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Runaway Bride
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Sandlot, The
Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures
Wag The Dog
Shaka Zulu
National Lampoon's Animal House
The Wiz
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