Joan Allen (born August 20, 1956) is an American multiple Academy Award-nominated and Tony Award-winning Actress, perhaps best known for her roles in the films Nixon, The Contender, The Bourne Supremacy/Ultimatum and The Upside of Anger.

She plays the Prison Warden in Death Race.


Early lifeEdit

Allen, the youngest of four children, was born in Rochelle, Illinois, the daughter of Dorothea Marie Wirth, a homemaker, and James Jefferson Allen, a Gas station owner. She has an older brother, David, and two older sisters, Mary and Lynn. Allen attended Rochelle Township High School, and was voted most likely to succeed. She transferred to Northern Illinois University in 1976, where she graduated. Allen began her performing career as a stage actress and on television before making her film debut in the movie, Compromising Positions (1985).


In 1989, Allen returned to the stage and won a Tony Award for her Broadway debut performance in Burn This. She also starred in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Heidi Chronicles.

She received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her roles as Pat Nixon in Nixon (1995) and as Elizabeth Proctor, a woman accused of witchcraft, in The Crucible (1996). She was also nominated for Best Actress for her role in The Contender (a film produced by co-star Gary Oldman and Douglas Urbanski), in which she played a politician who becomes the object of scandal.

Allen is respected by peers for her professionalism and the intense preparation she brings to each role. For example, to play a blind woman in the Michael Mann (director) film Manhunter (1986), she went to a school for the blind and wore a blindfold for several days. Brian Cox, her co-star in Manhunter (as Dr. Hannibal Lecter) and later in The Bourne Supremacy, called Allen the finest actress he had ever worked with and one of the best in the business.

She had starring roles in the drama The Ice Storm directed by Ang Lee and the action thriller Face/Off directed by John Woo, both released in 1997, as well as in the comedy Pleasantville (1998).

In 2001, Allen starred in the mini-series The Mists of Avalon on TNT. In 2005, she received many positive notices for her leading role in the comedy/drama The Upside of Anger, in which she played an alcoholic housewife.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1990, Allen married actor Peter Friedman. The couple separated in 2002, but live close to each other to share time with their daughter, Sadie, born in 1994. She has a Boston Terrier named Pippie.


  • Compromising Positions (1985)
  • Manhunter (film) (1986)
  • Zeisters (1986)
  • Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
  • All My Sons (1986)
  • Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
  • In Country (1989)
  • Ethan Frome (1993)
  • Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
  • Josh and S.A.M. (1993)
  • Mad Love (1995)
  • Nixon (film) (1995)
  • The Crucible (1996)
  • The Ice Storm (1997)
  • Face/Off (1997)
  • Pleasantville (1998)
  • It's the Rage (1999)
  • When the Sky Falls (2000)
  • The Contender (2000)
  • The Mists of Avalon (2001)
  • Off the Map (2003)
  • The Notebook (2004)
  • The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
  • Yes (2004)
  • The Upside of Anger (2005)
  • Bonneville (2006)
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
  • Death Race (2008)
  • Good Sharma (2008)
  • Hachiko: A Dog's Story (2008)

Awards and nominationsEdit

Academy awards
  • 2001: Best Actress for The Contender (nominated)
  • 1997: Best Actress for The Crucible (nominated)
  • 1996: Best Actress for Nixon (nominated)

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors). Smallwikipedialogo.png