Jennifer Beals (born December 19, 1963) is an American film actress and former teen model. She is known for her roles as Alexandra “Alex” Owens in the 1983 film Flashdance, and as Bette Porter on the Showtime drama series The L Word. She earned an NAACP Image Award and a Golden Globe Award nomination for the former. She has appeared in more than 50 films.
Beals had a minor role in the 1980 film My Bodyguard, then came to fame with her starring part in Flashdance. The third-highest grossing U.S. film of 1983, it is the story of 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and exotic dancer by night, whose dream is to be accepted someday at an illustrious school of dance. Beals was cast for this key role while still a student at Yale. She was nominated for a Golden Globe and the film received an Academy Award for Best Song. Many of Beals’ elaborate dance moves were actually performed by stunt double Marine Jahan.
A number of interesting roles came Beals’ way following that breakout performance. She and singer-actor Sting were cast as the leads in 1985′s The Bride, a gothic horror film loosely based on the 1935 classic Bride of Frankenstein.
Starring opposite Nicolas Cage, the actress portrays a lusty and thirsty vampire who may or may not be a figment of a man’s imagination in 1989′s Vampire’s Kiss.
In 1995, Beals and Denzel Washington co-starred in Devil in a Blue Dress, a period film based on a Walter Mosley novel featuring L.A. private detective, Easy Rawlins. Beals plays a biracial woman passing for white. That same year she appeared with Tim Roth in a segment of the four-story anthology Four Rooms directed by her then-husband, Alexandre Rockwell.
Rockwell had previously directed her in the 1992 independent film In the Soup, which was a Grand Prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival.
Recently, she had a leading role in 2006′s The Grudge 2, sequel to the hit horror film of two years earlier. In 2010, Beals reunited with Denzel Washington in the post-Apocalyptic action drama, The Book of Eli.
In television, she made a brief cameo in the final episode of Frasier. In 2007 she appeared in the small TV drama My Name Is Sarah, in which she plays Sarah Winston, a sober woman who joins Alcoholics Anonymous to be with a man she loves.
Beals starred in Showtime Network’s The L Word, where she played Bette Porter, an Ivy League educated lesbian. The series ended in March 2009. She also appears alongside Tim Roth in Lie To Me, as Cal Lightman’s ex-wife, Zoe Landau.
Beals will be the female lead in a new TV drama for FOX called Ride-Along. Her character will be Chicago’s first female police chief.
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