Jennifer Beals (born December 19, 1963) is an American 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 lesbian-themed 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 movies.
Early Life Edit
Beals was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Jeanne, an elementary school teacher who was of Irish decent, and Alfred Beals, who owned a grocery store and was of African-American decent. She has two brothers, Bobby and Gregory.Her father died when Beals was ten years old and her mother re-married to Edward Cohen. Beals stated that her biracial heritage had some impact on her, as she "always lived sort-of on the outside", with an idea "of being the other in society".She graduated from the Francis W. Parker School and Yale University, receiving a B.A. in American Literature, 1987. While at Yale, Beals was a resident of Morse College.
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 was the story of 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and exotic dancer by night, whose dream is to someday be accepted 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. After its release, it was revealed that many of Beals' elaborate dance moves were actually performed by double Marine Jahan.
In 1984, Beals was initially offered the role of the leading lady in the iconic movie Purple Rain starring opposite Prince, but turned it down to focus on college.
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. Beals was cast as Eva, quite literally a beautiful creature, brought to life by Dr. Frankenstein to be a mate for his monster.
Starring opposire Nicolas Cage, the actress portrayed 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 played a biracial woman passing for white. She has played similar roles throughout her career. 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 television, she made a brief cameo in the final episode of Frasier. In 2007 she appeared in My Name Is Sarah, where she plays Sarah Winston, a sober woman who joins Alcoholics Anonymous to be with a man she loves.
Beals starred in Showtime's drama The L Word, where she played Bette Porter, an Ivy League educated lesbian, until the series ended in March 2009.