Trained at the Washington Theatre Laboratory and Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Karen Allen was primarily a stage actress when she began to accept small film roles in such productions as National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) and Manhattan (1979), although her most celebrated film assignment was as the plucky Marion in Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Spielberg reportedly acknowledged his appreciation of Allen's performance by gallantly kissing her hand after each take. es, preferring roles that allowed her to appear without makeup, with her generously freckled face in full view. Among her more notable post-Raiders films were Starman (1984), The Glass Menagerie (1987), Malcolm X (1992), and In the Bedroom (2001). Temporarily blinded by conjunctivitis shortly before launching her film career, Allen was able to draw from life while portraying the adult Helen Keller in the mid-'80s Broadway play Helen and Teacher. Allen's TV roles included a protrayal of the ill-fated civilian astronaut Christa McAuliffe in Challenger (1990). The actress reunited with Ford in a reprisal of her role as Marian in 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The actress continues to be active in film and television.
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by Hal Erickson biography