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She studied at the Pasadena Playhouse (1964–1965). She appeared in You'll Like My Mother (1972), starring Patty Duke, Rosemary Murphy and Richard Thomas. For this role, Allen was nominated for the 1973 Golden Globe Award as "Most Promising New Actress".
She later garnered fame on two episodes of The Waltons (1973) as "Jenny Pendleton", an early love interest of John-Boy Walton (reuniting her with Thomas, who played John-Boy and with whom she had appeared in You'll Like My Mother the previous year). Allen and Thomas were themselves described as "together these days", and Thomas wanted Allen to play the Pendleton role.
Allen appeared on television programs such as Ironside, The Rockford Files, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Love, American Style, Columbo: Lovely but Lethal, Cagney & Lacey, Adam-12, and Hawaii Five-O. In 1974 she was the lead actress in the western Billy Two Hats, alongside Gregory Peck and Jack Warden. In 1976, she portrayed Anne Morrow Lindbergh in the television movie The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case, based on the real-life Lindbergh baby kidnapping/murder.
Allen's last role was in an episode of L.A. Law in 1990, after which she retired from acting.
She is the older sister of flash fiction author, editor and teacher M. Pokrass.