Karen Allen

  • Birth Name: Karen Jane Allen
  • Birth Place: Carrollton, Illinois, United States
  • Profession: Actor, Singer
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Fast Facts

  • Cocreator and codirector of the theater program at the Washington Project for the Arts in 1976.
  • Considered for the role of Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars (1977).
  • Garnered critical acclaim for portraying blind characters in the plays The Monday After the Miracle (1982) and The Miracle Worker (1987); Allen herself experienced temporary blindness from atopic keratoconjunctivitis (AKC) in 1978.
  • Landed her first major film role in National Lampoon's Animal House, a role advertised on a bulletin board at the Lee Strasberg Institute.
  • An accomplished singer, songwriter and musician, once played in a band with Kathleen Turner; and recorded a duet with Jeff Bridges for the Starman soundtrack album.  
  • Played the wife of her real-life former husband Kale Browne in two films: Challenger (1990) and 'Til There Was You (1997).
  • Received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2009.
  • Has taught acting at Bard College at Simon's Rock.
  • Designs and knits sweaters, hats and scarves for her own clothing label.


  • 1988, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Female: Nominee


  • Nicholas — Son
  • Stephen Bishop — Ex-significant Other
  • Patricia A. Howell — Mother
  • Carroll Thompson Allen — Father
  • Kale Browne — Ex-husband
  • Terence Winch — Ex-significant Other


  • Attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York, United States; attended University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States; attended Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Los Angeles, California, United States

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