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Nancy Allen (1950)

Nancy Anne Allen

Type :  


Nancy Anne Allen is a Golden Globe nominated American actress and cancer activist.

Allen began an acting and modelling career as a child, and from the mid-1970s appeared in small film roles, most notably the anchor of Robert Zemeckis's ensemble comedy I Wanna Hold Your Hand . A pivotal supporting role in Carrie brought her recognition, and after marrying the director Brian De Palma, she appeared in several of his films, including Dressed to Kill and Blow Out . Her subsequent films include Strange Invaders , The Philadelphia Experiment , Poltergeist III , Limit Up , Out of Sight , and the RoboCop trilogy.


 early life
She was born in New York City, the youngest of three children of Eugene and Florence Allen. Her father was a police lieutenant in Yonkers, where she was raised.

Allen was very shy as a child, so her mother enrolled her in dance classes at age 4. She attended the High School of Performing Arts, where she trained for a dancing career, and then attended Jose Quintano's School for Young Professionals.

 film career
Allen's first major film role was very small, playing Nancy, Jack Nicholson's nervous date, in The Last Detail . This inspired her to move to Los Angeles, and try for larger parts. She scored the role of Chris Hargensen in director Brian De Palma's horror film Carrie opposite Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving and John Travolta, as the title character's chief nemesis.

Allen next appeared in the role of Pam Mitchell in Steven Spielberg's I Wanna Hold Your Hand , which was director Robert Zemeckis's first feature film. She then played Donna Stratton in another Steven Spielberg film, the high profile comedy 1941 opposite Tim Matheson, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and John Candy.

She and Brian De Palma were married on January 12, 1979, and for the next couple of years Allen appeared in his films. She starred as Kristina in Home Movies with Kirk Douglas, as Liz Blake in Dressed to Kill with Michael Caine, and as Sally Bedina in Blow Out opposite John Travolta. In filming the latter, she had to overcome a life-long fear of being trapped in a submerged car that is filling with water.

Although, she received a Razzie nomination for her performance as Liz Blake, a prosperous call girl who dabbles in the stock market, in the murder/horror film Dressed to Kill, Allen was also nominated for a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture – Female.

Known for taking risky roles in the 1970s and 1980s, she played prostitutes several times, participating in racy sex scenes or appearing nude.

In 1983, Allen starred as supermarket tabloid reporter Betty Walker in Strange Invaders, written by Bill Condon and co-starring Paul LeMat and Michael Lerner.

She and De Palma divorced in 1984 due in part to stress that DePalma placed on their marriage while filming Scarface. That same year, two of Allen's films were released, The Buddy System opposite Richard Dreyfuss and Susan Sarandon and The Philadelphia Experiment opposite Michael Paré. For her role in the latter, Allen was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress. She also hosted the documentary Terror in the Aisles , which presents clips from various horror features, including Dressed to Kill and Carrie. Paul Bartel's Not for Publication and Sweet Revenge, an action caper about white slavery with Gina Gershon and Martin Landau, followed thereafter.

  RoboCop era

Allen played the police officer Anne Lewis in the science fiction/action classic RoboCop opposite Peter Weller in the title role. The film, which was the Hollywood debut of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, did extremely well at the box office. Allen was nominated for another Saturn Award for Best Actress.

After the success of RoboCop, Allen starred in Abel Ferrara's The Gladiator and as Patricia Wilson-Gardner in Poltergeist III opposite Tom Skerritt, Lara Flynn Boyle and Heather O'Rourke, who died before production was completed. Allen reprised her role as Officer Lewis in RoboCop 2 alongside Weller. In order to make her character tougher and more involved in the physical action, she studied martial arts and participated in police training. That same year, Allen toplined Richard Martini's Limit Up. As commodities trader Casey Falls, Allen showcased her comedic abilities. The lighthearted romp also featured Danitra Vance and blues icon Ray Charles. In 1990, Allen also had the distinction of starring in the first ever original film made for the Lifetime television network: the highly rated Memories of Murder.

She married comedian Craig Shoemaker on September 6, 1992. Allen played Officer Lewis a third time in RoboCop 3 and was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. For her third performance as the feisty cop, she worked to soften the usually tough-as-nails demeanor of the character: "You do your job and you become more confident with yourself. Therefore, you don't have to prove yourself to anyone and basically deny your womanhood. (It's) not a dirty word. It's actually an asset. And that's what I wanted to show - to loosen her up in that way." The same year, Allen also appeared with Linda Fiorentino in Acting on Impulse. She and Shoemaker divorced in 1994.

  Later career

Allen has appeared in a number of documentaries about her most famous films, including Dressed to Kill, Carrie, the RoboCop trilogy and Poltergeist III.

In 1994, she re-teamed with Strange Invaders scribe Bill Condon to star as psychic Jessie Gallardo opposite Roger Moore in the movie of the week The Man Who Wouldn't Die. She starred as Linda Savage in Quality Time in 1997 but the film was not released until 2008 due, in part, to post-production and re-named My Apocalypse. She and builder/contractor Randy Bailey were married in June 1998.

She had a small but notable role as Midge in the crime thriller Out of Sight starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh. She also played Rachel Colby in the horror film Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return and Madge in the comedy-thriller Kiss Toledo Goodbye with Christopher Walken . Secret of the Andes with David Keith and Jerry Stiller, was released in 2000.

Her television guest appearances include roles on Touched by an Angel, The Outer Limits, The Commish, Judging Amy and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

She and Bailey were divorced in 2007. As an environmentalist, Allen traded her Volvo automobile for a hybrid vehicle to set an example. She also became an activist against breast cancer.

In December 2010, Nancy Allen was named Executive Director of the weSPARK Cancer Support Center, which was founded by her longtime friend and I Wanna Hold Your Hand co-star, actress Wendie Jo Sperber, and attended the popular annual Wendie Jo Sperber Celebrity Golf Classic. Of her work at weSpark, she said: "That is what I do. That is what my life is dedicated to. I’m there, I run it. I’ve created the whole program format and I fund raise. It is my life’s work."

It was announced in February 2011 that a remastered forthcoming Criterion Collection DVD/Blu-ray release of Blow Out will hit stores in late April and include a new hour long interview with Nancy Allen concerning her role as Sally Bedina in the film.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Nancy Allen", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.