She is African-American and Irish
Jennifer Sue Beals was born in Chicago on December 19, 1963 as the second child of Jeanne Anderson and Alfred Beals. Her mother, an Irish-Catholic retired elementary schoolteacher, still lives in Chicago. Her African-American father owned a grocery store on the South Side of Chicago where she spent the first decade of her childhood, near 82nd Street and Indiana Avenue.
Jennifer Beals was born on December 19, 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). 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, and appeared in several of his films. Most notably, she starred in his In the Soup (1992), which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Deauville Film Festival.
She put her career on hold to attend Yale.
Was offered the part of “Apollonia” for Purple Rain (1984). She turned it down because she wanted to concentrate on college.
Jeanne and Alfred Beals