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Thu, 12.19.1963

Jennifer Beals, Actress born

Jennifer Beals

*Jennifer Beals was born on this date in 1963. She is a Black actress and photographer.

Early life

Beals was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, in the Bronzseville community. She's the daughter of Jeanne Anderson, an elementary school teacher, and Alfred Beals, who owned grocery stores. Beals' father was Black, and her mother was Irish. She has two brothers, Bobby and Gregory. Her father died when Beals was nine years old. Beals says her biracial heritage affected her. she "always lived sort of on the outside," with an idea "of being the other in society." She got her first job at 13 at an ice cream store, using her height to convince her boss she was 16. Her mother remarried in 1981 to Edward Cohen.

She was inspired to become an actress by two episodes: working on a high school production of Fiddler on the Roof and seeing Balm in Gilead with Joan Allen while volunteer-ushering at the Steppenwolf Theatre. Beals graduated from Francis W. Parker School, then participated in Goodman Theatre Young People's Drama Workshop. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in American Literature in 1987.

She deferred a term so she could film Flashdance. While at Yale, Beals was a resident of Morse College. Beals had a minor role in the 1980 film My Bodyguard. She was nominated for a Golden Globe, and the film received an Academy Award for Best Song. After graduation, Beals resumed her acting career, playing in the boxing film Split Decisions. She was in 1989's Vampire's Kiss. In 1992, she appeared in 2000 Malibu Road. In 1995, Beals and Denzel Washington co-starred in Devil in a Blue Dress. That same year she appeared in two segments of the four-story anthology Four Rooms, one of which was directed by her then-husband, Alexandre Rockwell. 

In 2003, she played in the film adaptation of Runaway Jury and 2006's The Grudge 2. In 2004, Beals made a brief cameo in the final episode of Frasier. In 2007, she appeared in the small TV drama My Name Is Sarah. Beals starred in The L Word. She also appeared alongside Tim Roth in Lie to Me. Beals was in The Chicago Code. In 2010, Beals reunited with Denzel Washington in the post-apocalyptic action drama The Book of Eli

In 2013, Beals was in the drama pilot Westside; in 2014, Beals was in Proof, and Beals played in the Full Out movie about Ariana Berlin.  In 2017, the actress played in the film version of Before I Fall.  On February 27, 2017, Beals played the series Taken, which serves as a prequel to the Taken film series. In 2018, Beals was cast in the Swamp Thing series. In 2019, she played the role of Karen in the romance movie After. In December 2019, Beals reprised her role as Bette Porter in The L Word: Generation Q. In 2021, Beals appeared in the series premiere of The Book of Boba Fett.

Personal life             

Beals is a practicing Buddhist. She married Alexandre Rockwell in 1986 and divorced him in 1996. In 1998, she married Ken Dixon, a Canadian entrepreneur. On October 18, 2005, Beals gave birth to their daughter. Dixon also has two children from a previous marriage. She has been a vocal advocate for gay rights. In October 2012, she received the Human Rights Campaign's Ally For Equality Award for supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. She also practices kung-fu, sanshou, and kickboxing and is a triathlete.

She has shown her work as a photographer under Dixon's married name. In 1989, she spent some time in Haiti photographing the elections. She published a book about her time on The L Word featuring her photographs. In 2010, Beals served as the Grand Marshal of the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago. She spoke of the two charities important to her: the Matthew Shepard Foundation and The Pablove Foundation.

To become an Actor or Actress.

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Poetry Corner

Your door is shut against my tightened face, And I am sharp as steel with discontent; But I possess the courage and the grace To bear my anger proudly... THE WHITE HOUSE by Claude McKay.
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