Karen Jane Allen (born October 5, 1951) is an American film and stage actress. After making her film debut in Animal House (1978), she became best known for her portrayal of Marion Ravenwood opposite Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), a role she later reprised for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). She also co-starred in Starman (1984) and Scrooged (1988). Her stage work has included performances on Broadway, and she has directed both for stage and film.
Karen Allen at the opening of A Year by the Sea, Coconut Creek, Florida in February 2017
Karen Jane Allen
October 5, 1951
Carrollton, Illinois, U.S.
(m. 1988; div. 1998)
Allen was born in Carrollton, Illinois, to Ruth Patricia (née Howell), a university professor, and Carroll Thompson Allen, an FBI agent. She is of English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh descent. Her father's job forced the family to move often. "I grew up moving almost every year and so I was always the new kid in school and always in a way was deprived of ever really having any lasting friendships", Allen said in 1987. Although Allen says her father was very much involved in the family, she felt that her two sisters and she grew up in a very female-dominated household. After she graduated from DuVal High School, in Lanham, Maryland, at 17, she moved to New York City to study art and design at Fashion Institute of Technology for two years.
Allen later ran a boutique on the University of Maryland campus and spent time traveling through South and Central Asia. She attended George Washington University and began to study and perform with the experimental company, the Washington Theatre Laboratory, in Washington, DC. In 1974, Allen joined Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts. Three years later, she moved back to New York City and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute.
Allen made her major film debut in 1978, in National Lampoon's Animal House. Her next two film appearances were in The Wanderers, in 1979, and A Small Circle of Friends in 1980, where she played one of three radical college students during the 1960s. She also appeared (as a guest star) in the 1979 pilot episode of the long-running CBS series Knots Landing and played Annie Fairgate, the daughter of Don Murray's character Sid Fairgate and Sid's first wife Susan Philby.
Her career-changing role came with the blockbuster movie Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), directed by Steven Spielberg, in which she played Marion Ravenwood, the love interest of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). Allen won a Saturn Award for Best Actress for her performance. After a few minor films, including leading roles in the dramatic thriller Split Image (1982), directed by Ted Kotcheff and the Paris-set romantic drama Until September (1984), directed by Richard Marquand, as well as other stage appearances, she co-starred with Jeff Bridges in the science-fiction film Starman (1984).
Allen debuted on Broadway in the 1982 production The Monday After The Miracle. In 1983, she played the lead in the off-Broadway play Extremities, a physically demanding role about a woman who turns the tables on a would-be rapist who attacks her. She often took breaks from movie roles to concentrate on stage acting; Allen appeared as Laura in the Paul Newman-directed film version of the Tennessee Williams play The Glass Menagerie, with John Malkovich and Joanne Woodward, in 1987.
In 1988, Allen returned to the big screen as Bill Murray's long-lost love, Claire, in the Christmas comedy Scrooged. In 1990, she portrayed the doomed crew member Christa McAuliffe in the television movie Challenger, based on the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Subsequently, she appeared in Spike Lee's Malcolm X (1992), in a small supporting role in The Perfect Storm (2000) and In the Bedroom (2001). She made guest appearances on Law & Order (1996) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2001). She also starred in the short-lived series The Road Home (1994) and portrayed Dr. Clare Burton in the video game Ripper (1996). In 2014 she played the role of Betty Lowe in "Unfinished Business" the 13th episode of the 4th season of the CBS police procedural drama Blue Bloods.
Allen reprised her best-known role as Marion Ravenwood for the 2008 sequel Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in which she renews her relationship with Indiana Jones and reveals to him that they have a son named Henry Jones III, who named himself Mutt Williams, played by Shia LaBeouf.
Allen has a long-standing relationship with the Berkshire Theater Group. It began in 1981, when she appeared in the play Two for the Seesaw at the Berkshire Theater Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She has also appeared in summer production of the nearby Williamstown Theater Festival. In August 2015, Allen directed Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune for the Berkshire Theater Group. In 2016, Allen made her movie directing debut with the short film, A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud., based on the short story by Carson McCullers. It won the Best International Short at the Manchester Film Festival in March 2017. Allen played the lead role in 2017's A Year by the Sea, a film based on The New York Times bestselling memoir by Joan Anderson.
Following the birth of her son, Allen accepted smaller roles in TV and films to concentrate on raising Nicholas. Nicholas went on to become a personal chef and win a Chopped competition on the Food Network, aired December 22, 2016.
She developed an affinity for knitting, and in 2003, started her own textile company, Karen Allen Fiber Arts, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The company sells items Allen knits with a Japanese-made knitting machine. For her work in the textile arts, she was awarded an honorary master's degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2009. Allen also teaches acting at Bard College at Simon's Rock, located in Great Barrington. As of July 2015[update], she lives in Massachusetts. She also works as a teacher and stage director and knits.
|1978||National Lampoon's Animal House||Katy|
|Lovey: A Circle of Children, Part II||Elizabeth|
|1979||Manhattan||Television Actor #2|
|A Small Circle of Friends||Jessica Bloom|
|1981||Raiders of the Lost Ark||Marion Ravenwood|
|1982||Shoot the Moon||Sandy|
|1985||Until September||Mo Alexander|
|The Glass Menagerie||Laura Wingfield|
|1989||Animal Behavior||Alex Bristow|
|1991||Sweet Talker||Julie Maguire|
|1992||The Turning||Glory Lawson|
|Malcolm X||Miss Dunne|
|1993||The Sandlot||Mrs. Smalls|
|King of the Hill||Miss Mathey|
|Voyage||Catherine "Kit" Norvell|
|Ghost in the Machine||Terry Munroe|
|1996||Hostile Advances: The Kerry Ellison Story||Margaret|
|Ripper[note 1]||Dr. Claire Burton|
|1997||'Til There Was You||Betty Dawkan|
|All the Winters That Have Been||Helen Raven|
|1998||Falling Sky||Resse Nicholson|
|1999||The Basket||Bessie Emery|
|The Perfect Storm||Melissa Brown|
|2001||In the Bedroom||Marla Keyes|
|My Horrible Year!||Belinda Faulkner|
|Shaka Zulu ; The Citadel / The Last Great Warrior||Katherine Farewell|
|2003||Briar Patch||Butcher Lee|
|2004||Poster Boy||Eunice Kray|
|When Will I Be Loved||Alexandra Barrie|
|2008||Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull||Marion Ravenwood|
|2009||A Dog Year||Paula (voice)|
|2010||White Irish Drinkers||Margaret|
|2012||The Tin Star||Eliza Flynn|
|2015||Bad Hurt||Elaine Kendall|
|2016||Year by the Sea||Joan Anderson|
|2020||50 States of Fright||Mary Laughton|
|2020||Things Heard and Seen||Sheriff Stallings||Post-production|
- "Karen Allen Picture, Profile, Gossip, and News". CelebrityWonder.com. Archived from the original on November 29, 2009. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "City of Carrollton, Illinois". Archived from the original on December 9, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- [permanent dead link]
- Wloszczyna, Susan (September 15, 2010). "Allen and Riegert tend to the 'White Irish Drinkers'". USA Today. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
- Herman, Arthur. "Karen Allen Balances Tame, Sexy Roles". United Press International. May 22, 1987.
- Labrecque, Jeff. "Karen Allen in 'Indiana Jones': The Girl Who Almost Got Away". Entertainment Weekly. September 18, 2012. Accessed October 22, 2012.
- "About - Karen Allen". karenallen-actor-director.com. Karen Allen. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
- "Karen Allen: The Girl Next Door". news.google.com. The Telegraph. July 22, 1981. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
- Eaker, Sherry. The Back Stage Handbook for Performing Artists. New York: Back Stage Books, 1995, p. 78.
- "List of Best Actress Saturn Award winners". Archived from the original on December 19, 2008.
- Barton, Chris (August 21, 2012). "'Indiana Jones' Star Karen Allen Heads for the Stage". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California: Tronc. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
- Hetrick, Adam; Jones, Kenneth (October 10, 2012). "Karen Allen and Samantha Soule Share 'A Summer Day' Off-Broadway Beginning Oct. 10". Playbill. New York City: Playbill, Inc.
- "Unfinished Business". imdb.com. January 17, 2014.
- Kozinn, Allan (October 22, 2012). "Karen Allen Returns in 'Summer Day' at Cherry Lane Theater". The New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Shaw, Dan (July 31, 2015). "Karen Allen at Home in the Berkshires". The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- Shanahan, Mark (July 28, 2017). "'Raiders' actress Karen Allen brings directorial debut to Woods Hole Film Fest". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
- Monsky, Ronni (May 31, 2017). "The Berkshire International Film Festival opens this week: 80 films from 23 countries in 4 days". The Berkshire Edge. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
- Burr, Ty (September 21, 2017). "Karen Allen is the one true thing in 'Year by the Sea'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
- Brownfield, Paul. "Hello, Karen? It's Steven..." Los Angeles Times. May 18, 2008.
- "Nicholas Browne, Chef". facebook.com. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- ""Chopped" Winner Seeks Funding for Massachusetts Cidery". Cider Culture. January 3, 2017. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- "Can you afford a personal celebrity chef? You might be surprised". TownVibe. April 30, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- "Annie Leibovitz to Give Keynote Address". Fashion Institute of Technology. May 14, 2009. Archived from the original on October 16, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
- "Karen Allen. Expertise: Performing Arts." Archived June 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Media Toolkit. Bard College at Simon's Rock. 2012. Accessed October 22, 2012.
- An interactive movie point-and-click adventure game
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