Nancy Allen (actress): Wikis


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Nancy Allen
Born June 24, 1950 (1950-06-24) (age 59)
New York City, New York, USA
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) Brian De Palma (1979-1984)
Craig Shoemaker (1992-1993)
Randy Bailey (1998-2007)

Nancy Anne Allen (born June 24, 1950) is an American Golden Globe-nominated actress. Her best-known films are Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out and the RoboCop trilogy.


Early life

She was born in New York City, New York, 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 terribly 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.

Her film debut was at age 12, playing the role as Melissa Dillon in Money in My Pocket (1962), a comedy/drama starring country singer Bill Anderson. From the time she was 15, Allen appeared in a large number of television commercials. She also worked as a model.

Film career

Allen's second 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 roles.[2] In director Brian De Palma's classic horror film Carrie (1976) opposite Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving and John Travolta, Allen stood out for her portrayal of the antagonistic, cruel queen bee, Chris Hargensen.

She was cast for Carrie on an open call, and was the first choice to play the telekinetic girl Carrie White. A last minute switch by De Palma, however, gave Allen the role as Hargensen, which was originally Spacek's role, and the title role went to Spacek.

Allen next appeared in the role as Pam Mitchell in Spielberg's I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), which was director Robert Zemeckis' first feature film. She then played Donna Stratton in another Spielberg departure from more serious fare, the comedy 1941 (1979) opposite Tim Matheson, and featuring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and John Candy as well.

She and Brian De Palma were married on January 12, 1979, and for the next couple of years Allen gained fame appearing 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 Angie Dickinson, and as Sally in Blow Out (1981) opposite John Travolta.

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

Known for taking risky roles in the 1970s and 1980s, she played prostitutes several times, participating in racy sex scenes or appearing completely nude for the camera.

She and De Palma divorced in 1984. 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 as Allison Hayes in the latter, Allen was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress. She also performed as hostess in the documentary Terror in the Aisles (1984), which presents clips from various horror features, including Dressed to Kill.



Allen set a standard in her performance as a tough but feminine policewoman, Officer Anne Lewis, in the Sci-Fi/action cult film 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 as Patricia Wilson-Gardner in Poltergeist III (1988) opposite Tom Skerritt and Heather O'Rourke, an experience made sad by the premature death of the young actress before shooting was complete. Allen reprised her role as Officer Lewis in RoboCop 2 (1990) opposite Weller. In order to make her character tougher and more involved in the physical action, she studied martial arts and participated in police training.

She was married to comedian Craig Shoemaker on September 6, 1992. Allen played Officer Lewis again in RoboCop 3 (1993), with Robert John Burke in the title role. For her third performance as the feisty cop, she was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. She and Shoemaker divorced in 1994.

Later career

Allen has appeared in a number of documentaries about her most famous films. She starred as Linda Savage in Quality Time in 1997, but the film was not released until 2008 due, in part, to post-production. 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 (both released in 1999).

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 is also an activist against breast cancer.

Nancy Allen serves as program director of the WeSpark Cancer Support Center, which was founded by her longtime friend, the late actress Wendie Jo Sperber, and attends the popular annual Wendie Jo Sperber Celebrity Golf Classic.

Selected filmography

Title Release Genra Role
The Last Detail 1973 Comedy/Drama Nancy
Forced Entry 1975 Horror/Drama hitch hiker
Carrie 1976 Horror/Sci-Fi Chris Hargensen
I Wanna Hold Your Hand 1978 Comedy/Romance Pam Mitchell
1941 1979 Comedy Donna Stratton
Home Movies 1980 Comedy Kristina
Dressed to Kill 1980 Crime/Mystery Liz Blake
Blow Out 1981 Crime/Thriller Sally
Strange Invaders 1983 Sci-Fi/Mystery Betty Walker
The Buddy System 1984 Comedy/Romance Carrie
The Philadelphia Experiment 1984 Sci-Fi/Drama Allison Hayes
The Gladiator 1986 Action/Drama Susan Neville
RoboCop 1987 Sci-Fi/Action Officer Anne Lewis
Poltergeist III 1988 Sci-Fi/Horror Patricia Wilson-Gardner
RoboCop 2 1990 Sci-Fi/Action Officer Anne Lewis
RoboCop 3 1993 Sci-Fi/Action Officer Anne Lewis
Out of Sight 1998 Crime/Thriller Midge
Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return 1999 Horror Rachel Colby
Kiss Toledo Goodbye 1999 Comedy/Thriller Madge
Circuit 2001 Drama Louise
Quality Time 2008 Sci-Fi/Thriller Linda Savage

Television appearances

Series Year Episode Role
Faerie Tale Theatre 1984 The Princess and the Pea Princess Elizabeth
Touched by an Angel 1994 An Unexpected Snow Megan
The Outer Limits 1995 Valerie 23 Rachel Rose
The Commish 1995 Brooklyn Gina Raposo
JAG 2000 Promises Amanda Field
Judging Amy 2001 The Unforgiven Helen White
The Division 2002 Brave New World Christine Ogden
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2003 Escape Carin Healy


Year Result Award Category Production
1981 Nominated Golden Globe New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture – Female Dressed to Kill (1980)
1981 Nominated Razzie Award Worst Actress Dressed to Kill
1985 Nominated Saturn Award Best Actress The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)
1988 Nominated Saturn Award Best Actress RoboCop (1987)
1994 Nominated Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress RoboCop 3 (1993)


  1. ^ Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1990, "A More Physical Cop," p. 2.
  2. ^ The New York Times, Sep. 5, 1980, "At the Movies --- Nancy Allen, making good at being bad," p. C6.

External links


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