JOAN ALLEN Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Joan Allen                                                                         
Born: 20 August 1956 Rochelle, Illinois, U.S.                                           
Joan Allen (born August 20, 1956) is a multiple Academy Award-nominated and Tony         
Award-winning American actress, perhaps best known for her roles in the films           
Nixon, The Contender, The Bourne Supremacy/Ultimatum and The Upside of Anger.           
Allen, the youngest of four children, was born in Rochelle, Illinois, the               
daughter of Dorothea Marie (née Wirth), a homemaker, and James Jefferson Allen,         
a gas station owner. She has an older brother, David, and two older                     
sisters, Mary and Lynn. Allen attended Rochelle Township High School, and was           
voted most likely to succeed. She transferred to Northern Illinois University in         
1976, where she graduated. Allen began her performing career as a stage actress         
and on television before making her film debut in the movie, Compromising               
Positions (1985).                                                                       
In 1989, Allen returned to the stage and won a Tony Award in her Broadway debut         
performance in Burn This. She also starred in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play           
The Heidi Chronicles. She received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting         
Actress for her roles as Pat Nixon in Nixon (1995) and as Elizabeth Proctor, a           
woman who is accused of witchcraft, as well as her husband who was also accused         
of witchcraft in the film adaptation of The Crucible (1996). She was also               
nominated for Best Actress for her role in The Contender (a film produced by co-star     
Gary Oldman and producer Douglas Urbanski), in which she played a politician who         
becomes the object of scandal. Allen is respected by her peers both for her             
professionalism and the intense preparation she brings to each of her roles. For         
example, to play a blind woman in the cult classic Manhunter (1986), she went to         
a school for the blind and wore a blindfold for several days. Brian Cox, her co-star     
in Manhunter and The Bourne Supremacy, called Allen the finest actress he had           
ever worked with and one of the best in the business.                                   
In 2001, Allen starred in the miniseries The Mists of Avalon, which aired on TNT.       
In 2005, she received many positive notices for her lead role in the comedy/drama       
The Upside of Anger, in which she played an alcoholic housewife.                         
Allen has signed on to appear in a remake of the film Death Race, playing a             
prison warden; filming is scheduled to begin in 2007 for a fall 2008 release