Born: 20 August 1956
Birthplace: Rochelle, Illinois
Best known as: Pat Nixon in Oliver Stone's Nixon
Joan Allen is an accomplished stage and screen actor who is perhaps best known for her portrayal of First Lady Pat Nixon in Oliver Stone's 1995 film Nixon. Allen grew up in a small town in northern Illinois and attended Eastern Illinois University, where she met John Malkovich. She moved to Chicago to join Malkovich's Steppenwolf Theater group in 1977, then moved to New York in 1983 to pursue a career as an actor. Her Broadway debut in Burn This (1987, with Malkovich as co-star) earned her a Tony award. The next year she was nominated for a Tony for her performance in The Heidi Chronicles. Allen has had similar success in Hollywood -- she has been nominated twice for Academy Awards for best supporting actress (Nixon and 1996's The Crucible) and once for best actress (2000's The Contender). Tall and thin, Allen is a versatile character and sometime leading lady who is popular with critics and A-list filmmakers and yet doesn't seem like a big-time Hollywood star. Her other films include: Manhunter (1986, with William Petersen); Tucker: A Man and His Dreams (1988, starring Jeff Bridges); Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993, with Laurence Fishburne); The Ice Storm (1997, with Sigourney Weaver); Face/Off (1997, opposite John Travolta); Pleasantville (1998, playing Tobey Maguire's mom); The Bourne Supremacy (2004, starring Matt Damon); and The Upside of Anger (2005, with Kevin Costner).
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