It was 1978 and "National Lampoon's Animal House" was a box-office hit, that has since become a cult
classic. It was also the movie that introduced the world to Karen Allen.
Her next big break came in 1981,
when director Steven Spielberg cast her as the
feisty heroine opposite Harrison Ford in "Raiders
of the Lost Ark."
Allen also took on smaller films while always returning to her first love --
the Broadway stage.
Born in Carrollton, Ill., Allen
and her family moved around quite often due to
her father's FBI job. With no acting ambitions,
she attended New York's Fashion Institute of Technology
and took on some fashion industry jobs until she
saw a production by avant-garde theater director
Immediately, the 20-something knew
that acting was the way she wanted to spend the
rest of her life. But after the big success of
"Indiana Jones" and co-starring with Jeff Bridges in 1984's "Starman," Allen retreated from the limelight,
concentrating on smaller, more personal projects.
She married (and divorced) actor Kale Browne and had a son, Nick. After her son's birth, Allen
took on occasional stage roles and smaller, indie film projects, concentrating on raising her child.
During these domestic years, Allen's affinity for knitting grew into a business. She founded her
textile company in 2003, Karen Allen Fiber Arts, in Great Barrington, Mass. Yet when she got the call from Steven
Spielberg to reprise her role as Marion in the upcoming "Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," she
When was the first time you really knew you could
be successful as an actress?
think it was something that developed over time.
I don't there was a real "aha" moment.
There was certainly an aha
moment in terms of knowing of knowing that I wanted
to be an actor, but the transition between doing
my training as an actor and beginning to work
in the theater and kind of coming to that moment
of actually realizing that I was actually going
to be able to do this as a profession -- that
probably came from a number of years of working
both in the theater and starting to work in film
and realizing that not just audiences, but people
in the film industry and people within the theater
world were responding to my work.