The daughter of an African-American father and Irish mother, Beals was studying American literature at Yale when picked to star in the 1983 romantic blockbuster Flashdance. Playing a welder by day and sexy dancer by night, she became an instant pinup girl with her signature sweatshirt-off-the-shoulder style. But while Beals worked consistently in mostly low-level projects for the next two decades — notably as a femme fatale in Devil in a Blue Dress and a slew of independent films, many directed by her ex-husband, Alexandre Rockwell — she remained indelibly linked to her seminal role. In 2004 she shattered that 20-year-old image when she signed on to The L Word as a workaholic lesbian, a part that revitalized her career and landed her on People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People list. An accomplished photographer, Beals’ camerawork is on display in The L Work Book, a behind-the-scenes photo journal of the show, which benefits several non-profit organizations.

Fast Facts

  • Made her film debut as an unbilled extra in 1980's My Bodyguard.
  • Did not perform much of the actual dancing in her 1983 hit, Flashdance. But the baggy, off-the-shoulder sweatshirt look she affected became a fashion rage.
  • Considered for the role of Dana Scully in The X-Files, which starred fellow Yale classmate David Duchovny.
  • Is an avid photographer.
  • Starred as art curator Bette Porter in the groundbreaking lesbian drama The L Word
  • Gave birth to a girl in October 2005 with husband Ken Dixon.
  • Authored the behind-the-scenes photographic journal The L Word Book, which benefits several charities.


  • 1984, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee


  • Ken Dixon — Husband
  • Bobby Beals — Brother
  • Alexandre Rockwell — Ex-husband
  • Jeanne Cohen — Mother
  • Gregory Beals — Brother
  • Alfred Beals — Father
  • Edward Cohen — Stepfather


  • Yale University, New Haven, CT (BA in American Literature, 1987)

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  • Birth Name: Jennifer Beals
  • Birth Place: Chicago, IL
  • Birthday: December 19, 1963, Sagittarius
  • Profession: Actor
  • User Rating:4.68 out of 5 (1,133 ratings)
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