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Fame & Fortune
Karen Allen
Blockbusters aside, actress sticks to her knitting
Celebrity interview

Fame & Fortune: Karen Allen

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.

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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 Jerzy Grotowski.

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 couldn't resist.

Bankrate: When was the first time you really knew you could be successful as an actress?

Karen Allen: I 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.

Next: "CUT -- That's really boring!"
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