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MovieMakers

Indy Isn't the Only One Making a Comeback

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By Ellen McCarthy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 23, 2008

Sometimes it takes a second of recall, but when it registers, it's a name that can dilate the pupils of most any man within earshot.

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Karen Allen.

Karen Allen, in the desert, in heels. Slinging sarcasm, shooting whiskey, pushing and pulling on the windburned affections of Indiana Jones. Freckle-faced and fierce.

And now, gentlemen, she's back.

Still fierce and alluring and, at 56, a leading lady who spent the gap between sequels migrating fully into middle age.

She became a yoga junkie and a theater teacher, started a little knitwear company called Karen Allen Fiber Arts and sent a son off to college. She was working at her shop in the Berkshires on a cold afternoon in January 2007 when a friend answered the phone and said Steven Spielberg was on the line.

Allen (retired from acting) had kept in touch and sent sweaters to DreamWorks for the holidays.

"And I thought at first, 'Oh, isn't that sweet -- he's calling to thank me. Just to say how much he liked the presents,' " she recalls. "And he said, 'So I guess you know why I'm calling.' And there was something in his voice that made me think, "Ohhh, I don't think this is about the Christmas presents.' "

The script for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was ready, filming would begin soon and, Spielberg told her, "we've written a wonderful role for you."

"I was really bowled over," Allen remembers on the phone from New York. "I had no idea that they were close to having a script that they liked, and I had no idea that my character would be a part of it. . . . My life was very full and very fascinating in a whole other world. And I wasn't paying much attention to anything that had to do with Hollywood."

She didn't hesitate for a second, and she joined a gym "pretty much the next day," she says.

In addition to Marion Ravenwood of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Allen is best known for her role as the sweetie-pie coed Katy in 1978's "Animal House." She was 26 years old when she played Katy; 29 when "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was shot. The name that makes hearts race corresponds with a face from 30 years ago.


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