Karen Allen: The Girl Who Had Indiana Jones' Number, Then And Now

By | June 25, 2019

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Left: Karen Allen in 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' (1981). Right: Allen with Bill Murray in 'Scrooged' (1988). Source: IMDB

We met Karen Allen as the sweetheart, much-too-nice girlfriend of Boon in Animal House (1978), but it was really with Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981) that audiences fell in love with her. In the Indiana Jones movies she was as cute as ever, but displayed a grit that suited her more than expected. Allen stood out in many other films -- including Cruising, (1980), Shoot The Moon (1982), Starman (1984), and Scrooged (1988) -- but she was at her unforgettable best as Marion, the take-charge woman with the girl-next-door good looks who goes shot for shot with a Nepalese drunk in Raiders.

No wonder Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones couldn't get over her.

The readers of Harper’s Bazaar voted Karen Allen one of the most beautiful women in the world in 1983. With her freckles, long brown hair, and big eyes, she specialized regular, believable characters, rather than glamorous roles. Karen Allen inspired many a crush, although she never seemed interested in the sex-symbol game.

Karen Allen Did Not Begin Acting Until Her 20s

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Karen Allen in 'The Wanderers' (1979). Source: IMDB

Born in 1951, the daughter of a teacher and an FBI agent, her family moved constantly during the first 10 years of her life. At 17, she moved to New York to study art and design at Fashion Institute of Technology. She did not discover acting until she was in her 20s. She moved to Massachusetts in 1974 to work with Shakespeare & Company, where she was for three years before moving back to New York. She enrolled at the Actors Studio and trained as a classical actress and studied at the Lee Strasburg Theater Institute.