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 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.
Beals was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Jeanne, an elementary school teacher, and Alfred Beals, who owned a grocery store. Her father was African-American and her mother was Irish American. 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. During high school, she dated actor Adam Baldwin. Beals also was chosen to attend the elite Goodman Theatre Young People's Drama Workshop. Beals attended Yale University, receiving a B.A. in American Literature, 1987. While at Yale, Beals was a resident of Morse College.
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