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Daughter of Alfred Beals (an African-American grocery store owner) and Jeanne Cohen (an Irish elementary school teacher).

Is a close friend of Quentin Tarantino. He often stayed at her home while struggling as a director before making Pulp Fiction.

She was the original choice for the lead role in Pretty in Pink, but it went to Molly Ringwald.

Worked at Baskin-Robbins as a teenager.

Was offered the part of Apollonia for Purple Rain, which starred 80s music star Prince. She turned it down because she wanted to concentrate on college.

She and her character on The L Word, Bette Porter, are both Yale graduates with an African-American father and a Caucasian mother.

Good friends with Elizabeth Berkley. The each appeared in a Joe Eszterhas-written film (Berkley: Showgirls (1995); Beals: Flashdance (1983)), and they appeared together in Roger Dodger (2002).

In Flashdance (1983), the birth date that she fills out on the application form is her actual birth date in real life.

Has an African-American father and an Irish mother.

While at Yale, she was classmates with David Duchovny, who suggested her for a part on "The X Files" (1993) (which went to Gillian Anderson).

She put her career on hold to graduate from Yale.

Turned down the opportunity to play herself in "It's Like, You Know..." (1999).

Film debut was in the 1980 film, My Bodyguard (1980), in which she is uncredited.

In Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), she plays a woman passing for white who is actually the daughter of an interracial couple. In real life, this is Beals's racial background, too.

Spouse: Ken Dixon (14 June 1998 - present) 1 child; Alexandre Rockwell (1986 - 1996) (divorced)

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