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Joan Allen

Joan Allen

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: August 20, 1956 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Rochelle, Illinois, USA Profession: actor, secretary

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

For the first part of her distinguished career, Oscar-nominated actress Joan Allen struggled to make herself a household name despite delivering strong, nuanced and critically-acclaimed performances on stage and screen. After quietly stalking the background in films like "Manhunter" (1986), "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (1988), and "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (1993), Allen exploded onto the scene with a stunning portrayal of former first lady Pat Nixon in Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995). Allen's sympathetic and complex turn opened doors to other opportunities to play strong, but emotionally withdrawn women, as in "The Crucible" (1996) and "Pleasantville" (1998). But it was her performance in "The Contender" (2000), as a U.S. senator on the verge of the vice presidency who is hammered for an alleged sex scandal, that vaulted her from supporting status to full-fledged leading lady. From there, she entered blockbuster territory with a supporting turn as a wary CIA officer in "The Bourne Supremacy" (2004), a role she reprised for sequels in 2007 and 2012, while earning more plaudits for "The Upside of Anger" (2005) and "Georgia O'Keefe" (Lifetime, 2009). With these hailed performances, Allen solidified...

For the first part of her distinguished career, Oscar-nominated actress Joan Allen struggled to make herself a household name despite delivering strong, nuanced and critically-acclaimed performances on stage and screen. After quietly stalking the background in films like "Manhunter" (1986), "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (1988), and "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (1993), Allen exploded onto the scene with a stunning portrayal of former first lady Pat Nixon in Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995). Allen's sympathetic and complex turn opened doors to other opportunities to play strong, but emotionally withdrawn women, as in "The Crucible" (1996) and "Pleasantville" (1998). But it was her performance in "The Contender" (2000), as a U.S. senator on the verge of the vice presidency who is hammered for an alleged sex scandal, that vaulted her from supporting status to full-fledged leading lady. From there, she entered blockbuster territory with a supporting turn as a wary CIA officer in "The Bourne Supremacy" (2004), a role she reprised for sequels in 2007 and 2012, while earning more plaudits for "The Upside of Anger" (2005) and "Georgia O'Keefe" (Lifetime, 2009). With these hailed performances, Allen solidified a long, but steady climb to become one of Hollywood's most respected and talented actresses.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Good Marriage, A (2014)
2.
4.
 Georgia O'Keeffe (2009)
5.
6.
 Death Race (2008)
7.
 Trumbo (2007)
8.
9.
10.
 Bonneville (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Turned to drama in high school after failing to make it as a cheerleader
1978:
Accepted John Malkovich's invitation to join Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre
:
Worked as secretary at an educational film company
1983:
Made Off-Broadway debut in a New York production of "And a Nightingale Sang"
1985:
Screen acting debut, "Compromising Positions"
1985:
TV debut in miniseries, "Evergreen" (NBC); her character aged from a teenager to a 50-year-old
1986:
First film with director Francis Ford Coppola, "Peggy Sue Got Married"
1987:
Starred as Ann Deever in "American Playhouse" presentation of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" (PBS)
1987:
Broadway debut, "Burn This"; co-starred with John Malkovich; won a Tony for Best Actress
1988:
Nominated for a Tony as Heidi Holland in Wendy Wasserstein's "The Heidi Chronicles"; appeared opposite future husband Peter Friedman
1988:
Portrayed Jeff Bridges' wife in Coppola's "Tucker: The Man and His Dream"
1989:
Was Emily Lloyd's mother in Norman Jewison's "In Country"
1991:
Essayed the role of Sarah Brady (wife of James Brady) in HBO's "Without Warning: The James Brady Story" co-starring Beau Bridges
1993:
Played mother of young chess prodigy (and Joe Mantegna's wife) in "Searching for Bobby Fischer"
1995:
Breakthrough screen role as Pat Nixon in Oliver Stone's biopic "Nixon"; earned first Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress
1996:
Earned second Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance as Daniel Day-Lewis' severe wife in "The Crucible"
1997:
Portrayed John Travolta's wife in "Face/Off"
1997:
Co-starred with Kevin Kline in Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm"; played Tobey Maguire's mother
1998:
Played yet another repressed housewife who blossoms in the satirical "Pleasantville"; first film with Jeff Daniels; played sitcom mother whose "son" was portrayed by Tobey Maguire
1999:
Had featured role as Daniels' wife in "It's the Rage/All the Rage"; screened at the Toronto Film Festival
1999:
Provided a voice for "New York: A Documentary Film" (PBS' "The American Experience")
2000:
Starred in the fictionalized biopic of slain Irish journalist Veronica Guerin, "Though the Sky Falls" (aired in USA on Cinemax)
2000:
Portrayed a prospective US Vice President stained by a sexual scandal in "The Contender"; reteamed with Jeff Bridges who played the US President; earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination
2001:
Cast alongside Anjelica Huston and Samantha Mathis in the TNT miniseries "The Mists of Avalon"
2004:
Featured in the film "The Notebook" directed by Nick Cassavetes
2004:
Starred as CIA director, Pamela Landy in "The Bourne Supremacy" based on the novel by Robert Ludlum
2005:
Starred with Sam Elliott in "Off the Map" directed by Campbell Scott
2005:
Starred as an alcoholic single mother of four in Mike Binder's "The Upside of Anger"; screened at sundance
2005:
Starred as an Irish-American scientist who begins a passionate love affair with Middle-Eastern man in Sally Potter's "Yes"
2007:
Reprised her role as Pamela Landy in "The Bourne Ultimatum" starring Matt Damon
2008:
Co-starred in the drama, "Bonneville" with Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange
2008:
Co-starred in Paul W.S. Anderson's remake of the 1975 film "Death Race"
2009:
Portrayed the famed artist in the Lifetime movie, "Georgia O'Keeffe"; earned Golden Globe, SAG, and Emmy nominations in 2010 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
:
Nominated for the 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Rochelle Township High School: Rochelle , Illinois -
Eastern Illinois University: Charleston , Illinois -
Northern Illinois University: DeKalb , Illinois - 1976

Notes

"You can't talk about acting. It's difficult to know what actually happens. You do the research, you try to tell the truth." --Joan Allen quoted in The New York Times December 27, 1995.

"I was very shy but was desperate to meet boys, so my sister told me to be a cheerleader. I didn't make cheerleading squad, so I thought, why not try out for a play? As soon as I did I found I absolutely loved it. I could express all the emotions I felt. I could cry and scream and laugh, but in a controlled environment." --Allen to The New York Times, December 27, 1995.

"I remember saying to my agent a few years ago, maybe I should pick something: The quiet blah-blah-blah, the brassy so-and-so, just pick one so I could work more, I'd played such a wide variety of roles, I think, I was difficult to categorize." --Allen quoted in "Biz Wrestles With Femme Dilemma" from Variety, January 5, 1996.

On college friend and fellow Steppenwolf colleague John Malkovich: "John was the most exotic person I had ever met in my life. He wore purple platform shoes and had long hair. I wasn't sure what he could see in me. I remember once I was talking to some people, and he wanted to ask me to do a scene with him. He just hooked his finger in the back loop of my jeans, pulled me aside and whispered in my ear. He was really cool." --Allen to US, March 1996.

"Most actors are capable of either absolute technical control, or they have the spontaneous passion of being totally physically present, like Marlon Brando. But Joan can do both." --James Schamus, co-producer and screenwriter of "The Ice Storm", quoted in The Hollywood Reporter ShoWest Talent Special Issue March 12, 1998.

"I love my work, but being seen at the right parties and playing the Hollywood game has never been my thing. I've never known how to do it, and have no desire to learn." --Allen to Andy Webster in Premiere, May 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Peter Friedman. Actor. Met when they appeared together in "And a Nightingale Sang" in 1983; married on January 1, 1990; appeared opposite Allen in the Broadway production of "The Heidi Chronicles"; later starred in the musical "Ragtime".

Family close complete family listing

father:
Jeff Allen. Gas station operator. Died in 1995.
mother:
Dorothy Allen.
sister:
Mary Allen. Sandwich shop employee. Born c. 1940.
brother:
David Allen. Maintenance worker. Born c. 1943.
sister:
Lynn Allen. Administrative assistant. Born c. 1954.
daughter:
Sadie Friedman. Born in March 1994.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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