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Adept at simultaneously projecting a vulnerable and hard-edged exterior, Allen began her career in TV commercials at the age of 15 and made her film debut as Jack Nicholson's aloof hippie interlocutor in "The Last Detail" (1973). She subsequently played in a series of films directed by her first husband Brian De Palma, including a vicious teenager in "Carrie" (1976), a call girl-cum-detective in "Dressed to Kill" (1980) and as the unwitting pawn in a political conspiracy in "Blow Out" (1981). After a series of duds, she scored a huge success as the non-metallic partner of "Robocop" (1987), a role she reprised in two sequels. Allen returned to high profile moviemaking as Albert Brooks' housekeeper in the noirish "Out of Sight" (1998).