Date of Birth: August 20, 1956
Most of the film world audience didn't really know who this Rochelle, Illinois native was until she scored back-to-back Oscar nominations for Nixon and The Crucible. That's because Allen was most often to be found on the stage where she garnered numerous awards for her work, including a 1989 Tony for her Broadway debut in Burn This.
"I didn't do films until my late twenties," she says. "I was so entrenched in theater, I didn't know how to act in front of a camera."
But she has since made up for that lack of film experience. As for what drew her to acting in the first place, she says: "I was a very good girl for a long time, that's what really drew me to acting. The stage was the perfect place to be outrageous, to be sad, to be angry, to be all these different things."
A founding member of Chicago's legendary Steppenwolf Theatre, Allen studied her craft at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
She has become one of America's most highly regarded actresses with her work in films such as Pleasantville (1998), The Contender (2000, for which she received her third Oscar nomination and second Golden Globe nomination), and The Notebook (2004). She won a Golden Apple Award as Female Star of the Year in 2000 and received a Golden Starfish Award for Career Achievement at the 2003 Hamptons International Film Festival. She has since landed roles in several big films, such as the three of the Bourne movies (The Bourne Supremacy in 2004, The Bourne Ultimatum in 2007 and The Bourne Legacy in 2012). She also had a recurring role as Claire Lachay on the television series Luck (2012). More recently, she starred in Room (2015) alongside William H. Macy, and in Lisey's Story (2021) alongside Julianne Moore and Clive Owen.
Allen married fellow actor Peter Friedman in 1990. They have a daughter, Sadie.