Nancy Allen (actress)

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Nancy Allen
NancyAllenactress.jpg
Allen while promoting Strange Invaders, 1983
BornNancy Anne Allen
(1950-06-24) June 24, 1950 (age 64)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1962–present
Spouse(s)Brian De Palma (m. 1979–84)
Craig Shoemaker (m. 1992–93)
Randy Bailey (m. 1998–2007)
 
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Nancy Allen
NancyAllenactress.jpg
Allen while promoting Strange Invaders, 1983
BornNancy Anne Allen
(1950-06-24) June 24, 1950 (age 64)
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1962–present
Spouse(s)Brian De Palma (m. 1979–84)
Craig Shoemaker (m. 1992–93)
Randy Bailey (m. 1998–2007)

Nancy Anne Allen (born June 24, 1950) is a Golden Globe-nominated American actress and cancer activist best known for her roles in the films Carrie (1976), RoboCop (1987), and Dressed to Kill (1980).

Allen began an acting and modelling career as a child, and from the mid-1970s appeared in small film roles, most notably the anchor of Robert Zemeckis's ensemble comedy I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978). A pivotal supporting role in Carrie (1976) brought her recognition, and after marrying the director Brian De Palma, she appeared in several of his films, including Dressed to Kill (1980) and Blow Out (1981). Her subsequent films include Strange Invaders (1983), The Philadelphia Experiment (1984), Poltergeist III (1988), Limit Up (1990), Out of Sight (1998), and the RoboCop trilogy.

Early life[edit]

She was born in New York City, the youngest of three children of Eugene and Florence Allen. Her father was a police lieutenant in Yonkers,[1] where she was raised.

Allen was very shy as a child, so her mother enrolled her in dance classes at age 4. She attended the High School of Performing Arts, where she trained for a dancing career, and then attended Jose Quintano's School for Young Professionals.

Film career[edit]

Allen's first major film role was very small, playing Nancy, Jack Nicholson's nervous date, in The Last Detail (1973). This inspired her to move to Los Angeles, and try for larger parts.[2] She scored the role of Chris Hargensen in director Brian De Palma's horror film Carrie (1976) opposite Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving and John Travolta, as the title character's chief nemesis.

Allen next appeared in the role of Pam Mitchell in Steven Spielberg's production of I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), which was director Robert Zemeckis's first feature film. She then played Donna Stratton in another Steven Spielberg film, the high profile comedy 1941 (1979) opposite Tim Matheson, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and John Candy.

She and Brian De Palma were married on January 12, 1979, and for the next couple of years Allen appeared in his films. She starred as Kristina in Home Movies (1980) with Kirk Douglas, as Liz Blake in Dressed to Kill (1980) with Michael Caine, and as Sally Bedina in Blow Out (1981) opposite John Travolta. In filming the latter, she had to overcome a lifelong fear of being trapped in a submerged car that is filling with water.[3]

For her role as Liz Blake, a prosperous call girl who dabbles in the stock market, in the murder/horror film Dressed to Kill, Allen was nominated for a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture – Female.

In 1983, Allen starred as supermarket tabloid reporter Betty Walker in Strange Invaders, written by Bill Condon and co-starring Paul LeMat and Michael Lerner.

She and De Palma divorced in 1984 due in part to stress that DePalma placed on their marriage while filming Scarface.[4] That same year, two of Allen's films were released, The Buddy System opposite Richard Dreyfuss and Susan Sarandon and The Philadelphia Experiment opposite Michael Paré. For her role in the latter, Allen was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress. She also hosted the documentary Terror in the Aisles (1984), which presents clips from various horror features, including Dressed to Kill and Carrie. Paul Bartel's Not for Publication and Sweet Revenge, an action caper about white slavery with Gina Gershon and Martin Landau, followed thereafter.

RoboCop era[edit]

Allen played the police officer Anne Lewis in the science fiction/action classic RoboCop (1987) opposite Peter Weller in the title role. The film, which was the Hollywood debut of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, did extremely well at the box office. Allen was nominated for another Saturn Award for Best Actress.

After the success of RoboCop, Allen starred in Abel Ferrara's The Gladiator (1987) and as Patricia Wilson-Gardner in Poltergeist III (1988) opposite Tom Skerritt, Lara Flynn Boyle and Heather O'Rourke, who died before production was completed. Allen reprised her role as Officer Lewis in RoboCop 2 (1990) alongside Weller. In order to make her character tougher and more involved in the physical action, she studied martial arts and participated in police training. That same year, Allen toplined Richard Martini's Limit Up. As commodities trader Casey Falls, Allen showcased her comedic abilities. The lighthearted romp also featured Danitra Vance and blues icon Ray Charles. In 1990, Allen also had the distinction of starring in the first ever original film made for the Lifetime television network: the highly rated Memories of Murder.[5]

She married comedian Craig Shoemaker on September 6, 1992. Allen played Officer Lewis a third time in RoboCop 3 (1993) and was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. For her third performance as the feisty cop, she worked to soften the usually tough-as-nails demeanor of the character: "You do your job and you become more confident with yourself. Therefore, you don't have to prove yourself to anyone and basically deny your womanhood. (It's) not a dirty word. It's actually an asset. And that's what I wanted to show - to loosen her up in that way." [6] The same year, Allen also appeared with Linda Fiorentino in Acting on Impulse. She and Shoemaker divorced in 1994.

Later career[edit]

Allen has appeared in a number of documentaries about her most famous films, including Dressed to Kill, Carrie, the RoboCop trilogy and Poltergeist III.

In 1994, she re-teamed with Strange Invaders scribe Bill Condon to star as psychic Jessie Gallardo opposite Roger Moore in the movie of the week The Man Who Wouldn't Die. She starred as Linda Savage in Quality Time in 1997 but the film was not released until 2008 due, in part, to post-production and renamed My Apocalypse. She and builder/contractor Randy Bailey were married in June 1998.

She had a small but notable role as Midge in the crime thriller Out of Sight (1998) starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh. She also played Rachel Colby in the horror film Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return and Madge in the comedy-thriller Kiss Toledo Goodbye with Christopher Walken (both released in 1999). Secret of the Andes with David Keith and Jerry Stiller, was released in 2000.

Her television guest appearances include roles on Touched by an Angel, The Outer Limits, The Commish, Judging Amy and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

She and Bailey were divorced in 2007. As an environmentalist, Allen traded her Volvo automobile for a hybrid vehicle to set an example. She also became an activist against breast cancer.

In December 2010, Nancy Allen was named Executive Director of the weSPARK Cancer Support Center, which was founded by her longtime friend and I Wanna Hold Your Hand co-star, actress Wendie Jo Sperber, and attended the popular annual Wendie Jo Sperber Celebrity Golf Classic. Of her work at weSpark, she said: "That is what I do. That is what my life is dedicated to. I’m there, I run it. I’ve created the whole program format and I fund raise. It is my life’s work."[7]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1973Last Detail, TheThe Last DetailNancy
1975Forced EntryHitchhiker
1976CarrieChris Hargensen
1978I Wanna Hold Your HandPam Mitchell
19791941Donna Stratton
1980Home MoviesKristina
1980Dressed to KillLiz BlakeNominated—Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
1981Blow OutSally Bedina
1983Strange InvadersBetty Walker
1984Buddy System, TheThe Buddy SystemCarrie
1984Terror in the AislesHerself
1984Philadelphia Experiment, TheThe Philadelphia ExperimentAllison HayesNominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
1984Not for PublicationLois Thorndyke
1986Gladiator, TheThe GladiatorSusan NevilleTelevision movie
1987Sweet RevengeJillian Grey
1987RoboCopOfficer Anne LewisNominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
1988Poltergeist IIIPatricia Wilson-Gardner
1989Limit UpCasey Falls
1990RoboCop 2Anne Lewis
1990Memories of MurderJennifer/CoreyTelevision movie
1993RoboCop 3Anne LewisNominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1993Acting on ImpulseCathy ThomasTelevision movie
1994The Man Who Wouldn't DieJessie GallardoTelevision movie
1994Les patriotesCatherine Pelman
1997Against the LawMaggie Hewitt
1997Dusting Cliff 7Anna Bishopaka Last Assassins
1998Pass, TheThe PassShirley Duprey
1998Out of SightMidge
1999Secret of the AndesBrenda Willings
1999Kiss Toledo GoodbyeMadge
1999Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's ReturnRachel Colby
2001CircuitLouise
2008My ApocalypseLinda Savageaka Quality Time
2012Bound by FleshNarrator

Television[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1983–1984Another WorldPaula JamesUnknown episodes
1984Faerie Tale TheatrePrincess ElizabethEpisode: "The Princess and the Pea"
1994Touched by an AngelMeganEpisode: "An Unexpected Snow"
1995Outer Limits, TheThe Outer LimitsRachel RoseEpisode: "Valerie 23"
1995Commish, TheThe CommishGina RaposoEpisode: "Brooklyn"
2001Judging AmyHelen WhiteEpisode: "The Unforgiven"
2002Division, TheThe DivisionChristine OgdenEpisode: "Brave New World"
2003Law & Order: Special Victims UnitCarin HealyEpisode: "Escape"

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
1981Golden Globe AwardsNew Star of the Year – ActressDressed to KillNominated
1985Saturn AwardsBest ActressPhiladelphia Experiment, TheThe Philadelphia ExperimentNominated
1988Saturn AwardsBest ActressRoboCopNominated
1994Saturn AwardsBest Supporting ActressRoboCop 3Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A More Physical Cop". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  2. ^ The New York Times, Sep. 5, 1980, "At the Movies --- Nancy Allen, making good at being bad," p. C6.
  3. ^ "No Wonder Nancy Allen has Nightmares". L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service. July 16, 1981. 
  4. ^ "Nancy Allen Replies". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. May 14, 1983. 
  5. ^ "NANCY ALLEN STARS IN LIFETIME FIRST". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  6. ^ "Nancy Allen shows her softer side in RoboCop 3". Lakeland Ledger. Nov 7, 1993. 
  7. ^ [1]

External links[edit]