Who is Karen Austin?
Karen was born in Welch, West Virginia USA, on 24 October 1955 – her zodiac sign is Scorpio, and she holds American nationality. She’s an actress with more than 100 credits to her name, while she’s perhaps still known best for her portrayal of Sandy Chester in the 1985 comedy movie “Summer Rental”. It was directed by Carl Reiner, starred John Candy, Richard Crenna and Rip Torn, and follows an air-traffic controller who has gone on a vacation with his family; the movie was nominated for three awards.
Karen hasn’t been active in the film industry since 2015, but hasn’t officially retired; some of her fans believe that she has taken some time off, while others claim that she might be done with acting.
Early life and education
Karen was raised in Welch by her parents about whom little is known, because she respects their privacy; it’s widely believed that her mother Katie Jacobs was a high school teacher, and that her father Paul Attanasio was a theatre actor. Because she hasn’t mentioned having any siblings, most of Karen’s fans believe her to be an only child.
Karen became interested in acting while attending a local high school, where she was a member of its drama club, and played lead characters in numerous school plays, and was also interested in a couple of other activities during those four years, including dancing and singing.
Karen matriculated in 1974, and the same year saw her make her debut film appearance, with her portrayal of Lena in the drama “The Ottawa Valley”, however, she then focused on her education and had no other roles in the following four years.
Karen graduated from Virginia’s Mary Baldwin College with a Bachelor’s degree in theatre in 1978, and then continued her education at Illinois Northwestern University, from which she graduated with a Master’s degree in dramatic literature in 1980.
Roles in TV series
Karen made her debut TV series appearance in the 1978 episode “Kid Stuff” of the musical family comedy “Happy Days”, and eventually gained recognition in 1982, when cast to play Carrie Welby in the adventure family comedy “The Quest”. It starred Perry King, Noah Beery Jr. and Ray Vitte, and follows four Americans who have been sent on a ‘quest’, to determine which of them will become the new monarch of Glendorra.
The following years saw Karen appear in an episode or two of various series, including the drama “Trauma Center”, the drama mini-series “Celebrity” and the crime drama “Our Family Honor”.
She starred as Helen Forbes in the 1995 drama “Live Shot”, created by Dan Guntzelman and Steve Marshall, and which also starred Sam Anderson and David Birney. The series follows the lives of several people working at a Los Angeles TV station, and was nominated for three awards. Karen appeared in over 15 TV series in the remainder of the ‘90s, including the action adventure drama “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, the action crime adventure “Mr. & Mrs Smith”, and the romantic family comedy “Step by Step”.
What marked the 2000s for her was perhaps her portrayal of Sandy Bickle in the comedy “Girlfriends”, created by Mara Brock Akil, and which starred Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks and Persia White. The series follows the lives of four women, aired from 2000 to 2008, and won eight of the 47 awards for which it was nominated, including a Primetime Emmy nomination.
Karen’s most recent roles in TV series have been in the 2011 episode “A Family Affair” of the mystery crime drama “The Closer”, four episodes of the 2012 comedy “Fresh Hell”, and six episodes of the comedy “Whole Day Down” between 2011 and 2015.
Roles in movies
The year 1979 saw Karen play Mrs Gideon in the drama “Fish Hawk”, and a couple of her following roles were in the 1980 action crime drama “Waikiki”, the 1981 comedy drama “S. O. B.” and the 1982 mystery horror thriller “Fantasies”.
She gained recognition in 1985, when cast to play Julie Jensen in the mystery thriller drama “Jagged Edge”, directed by Richard Marquand, and which starred Jeff Bridges, Glenn Close and Peter Coyote. The movie follows a man whose wealthy wife has been murdered, and he’s now inherited all her assets; it was nominated for five awards, including an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Karen appeared in a couple of movies in the remainder of the ‘80s, such as the 1985 drama “A Letter to Three Wives”, the 1986 crime thriller drama “The Ladies Club” and the 1989 mystery crime drama “Far from Home”.
Her most notable performance in the ‘90s was perhaps her portrayal of the main character Anne in the 1996 drama “Lazarus”, directed by Waldemar Dziki, and which also starred William Armstrong and Ryszard Filipski. The movie follows a British couple who are trying to adopt a Latin American boy, but have been tricked into adopting a 10 years old boy from Mozambique.
Karen spent the 2000s focused on appearing in TV series, and had only a couple of film roles, including in the 2000 comedy drama “Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel”, the 2006 biographical crime drama “Amber’s Story”, and the 2009 action crime comedy “Bitch Slap”.
Her most recent movie role has been her portrayal of Jean in the 2015 horror “The Wicked Within”, directed by Jay Alaimo, and which starred Sienna Guillory and Gianni Capaldi; the film follows a family who have gathered together for the holidays, and are being hunted by a supernatural entity.
Karen made a guest appearance in a 1982 episode of the talk-show “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”.
She sang the song “The Man I Love” in the 1984 episode “Wonder Drugs” of the series “Night Court”.
Karen has received special thanks for the upcoming horror movie “Mr. Rogers’ Site of Horrors”.
Love life and relationships
Karen prefers to keep the details of her love life to herself, but has still allowed her fans to have a glimpse into it.
Karen Austin as Lana Wagner. #nightcourt #flashbackfriday
She exchanged vows with the non-celebrity American man Kris Slava in 1975, at the age of 19; the two had apparently met while attending the same high school, but they divorced in 1982., and didn’t have children together.
In 1989, Karen gave birth to her daughter Olivia Austin, but the details of the girl’s father remain undisclosed; some of Karen’s fans believe that she wanted to have a child, and that she had no intention of staying in touch with Olivia’s father.
She hasn’t spoken of any other men whom she has perhaps been with, so as of March 2022, Karen seems to be single, was married to Kris Slava, and has a daughter from a previous relationship.
Hobbies and other interests
Karen was physically quite active during her 20s, 30s and 40s, mostly because it was important for her acting career to stay fit; she had multiple training sessions at the gym every week, and followed a strict diet.
She was once passionate about travelling, and her acting career has taken her all around the world. Karen eventually became tired of it all, and nowadays apparently prefers leading a quiet life at her home in Los Angeles, California.
She’s a philanthropist, and has donated money to various charity organizations and animal shelters; Karen’s mostly focused on aiding underprivileged children and war veterans.
She has her own favorite actors and actresses, some of whom are Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood, while a couple of her favorite films include “The Runaway Bride”, “The Bridges of Madison County”, and “The Devil Wears Prada”.
Age, height and net worth
Karen’s age is 66. She has long brown hair and blue eyes, her height is 5ft 5ins (1.65m) and she weighs around 130lbs (60kgs).
As of March 2022, Karen’s net worth has been estimated at more than $500,000.