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What Ever Happened to Karen Allen?

Karen Allen

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At the end of Cruising, Karen Allen, as Al Pacino’s clueless girlfriend, is seen provocatively slipping into his leather jacket and cap — yet few people seemed to notice the dark-haired actress until she socked Harrison Ford in the jaw a year later as a boozing, brawling spitfire to Ford’s Indian Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Since then, however, aside from a John Carpenter sci-fi fantasy (1984’s Starman) and Bill Murray yuletide comedy (1988’s Scrooged), Allen has focused her post-Indy efforts on intimate, less-commercial dramas by noteworthy directors (Paul Newman’s The Glass Menagerie, Steven Soderbergh’s King of the Hill); her Massachusetts yoga studio; and son Nicholas, 7 (from her marriage to former Another World actor Kale Browne, from whom she’s separated). Now 46, Allen stars as an alcoholic mother in the upcoming independent film Falling Sky and is due on Broadway this fall in a new drama, Getting and Spending. As for Cruising, Allen readily admits her dislike for the film. “But playing opposite Al Pacino was an extraordinary opportunity that I couldn’t image passing up,” she says.