Jennifer Beals was born in December 1963 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in the city. With a life-long desire for acting, Beals first appeared in small high school plays and even got an uncredited bit part in My Bodyguard (1980) in 1980. After graduation, she enrolled in college at Yale University, studying American literature. She appeared in her first starring role in the movie Flashdance (1983) while still a freshman at Yale. While at Yale, she also starred in Franc Roddam's The Bride (1985). After graduation from Yale, Beals married independent filmmaker Alexandre Rockwell in 1986, and has appeared in several of his films. Most notably, she starred in his In the Soup (1992), which won the 1992 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Deauville Film Festival. Beals continued to find acting work in various movies and TV productions through the 1990s and 2000s, in lead and supporting roles. One of her most notable roles came in early 2004 when she was cast in the Showtime TV-cable series The L Word (2004) as a lesbian art gallery manager named "Bette Porter," a role she played throughout its entire run until 2009. She played Police Superintendant Teresa Colvin on the Fox Network crime series The Chicago Code (2011). She now plays Dr. Carolyn Tyler in the 2015 TV series Proof (2015). As for her personal life, Beals divorced Rockwell in 1996 and married Canadian entrepreneur Ken Dixon two years later. They had a daughter in 2005.
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