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Nancy Anne Allen (born June 24, 1950) is an American actress.
Allen began an acting and modelling career as a child, and from the mid-1970s appeared in small film roles. A strong 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), for which she received a Golden Globe nomination, and Blow Out (1981). Her subsequent films include The Philadelphia Experiment (1984) and the RoboCop trilogy.
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, 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.
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. She played a supporting role in director Brian De Palma's horror film Carrie (1976) opposite Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving and John Travolta.
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.
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 Angie Dickinson, and as Sally Bedina 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 nude.
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.
In 1984, she also starred as tabloid journalist Betty Walker in Strange Invaders written by Bill Condon and co-starring Paul LeMat and Michael Lerner. Paul Bartel's Not for Publication and Sweet Revenge, an action caper about white slavery, co-starring Martin Landau and Gina Gershon, followed thereafter.
RoboCopEditAllen turned in a memorable performance as the tough but feminine policewoman, Officer Anne Lewis of the futuristic Omni Consumer Products-funded Detroit, Michigan, Police Department, in the science fiction/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 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, Dean Stockwell and legendary blues icon Ray Charles. In 1990, Nancy 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.
She was married to comedian Craig Shoemaker on September 6, 1992. Allen played Officer Lewis a third time in RoboCop 3 (1993), with Robert John Burke in the title role. For her third performance as the feisty cop, who was killed in the course of the story, she was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. The same year, Allen also appeared with Linda Fiorentino in Acting on Impulse. She and Shoemaker divorced in 1994.
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 re-named 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).
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.
As of February 2010, Nancy Allen was serving as program director of the WeSpark Cancer Support Center, which was founded by her longtime friend, actress Wendie Jo Sperber, and attended the popular annual Wendie Jo Sperber Celebrity Golf Classic.