Beals is the daughter of an African - American supermarket owner and a white teacher of Irish descent; her father died when she was nine years old. She grew up in Chicago and took up to her high school graduating classes at the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University.
1983 Beals was awarded a place at Yale University in Connecticut for American Studies and American Literature; one of her fellow students was David Duchovny. In the same year, she was one of over 4,000 applicants the lead role of Alex Owens in the movie Flashdance, for which they won in 1984 Image Award and was also nominated for a Golden Globe. So she came to international fame, but what they did not stop to finish her studies in 1987 at Yale with distinction. During the semester break and even after graduation, she appeared in many smaller productions, such as Wishful Thinking with. It is closely for many years with the director and film producer Quentin Tarantino, with whom she was seen in the 1995 film Four Rooms, friends.
Beals was married to the writer and director Alexandre Rockwell from 1986 to 1996, the marriage remained childless. In 1998 she married the Canadian film technician Ken Dixon; she is the stepmother of two children from his first marriage. The couple also has a daughter (* 2005).
Her comeback in the German television had Beals in the May to August 2006 broadcast by ProSieben first season of the U.S. television series The L Word, where she played the African-American curator of a museum in Los Angeles in the title role of Bette Porter. 2005 Beals was nominated for this role for the Satellite Award 2007 in the category Best Actress in a TV Drama for an NAACP Image Award. In 2005, she turned the horror film The Curse - The Grudge 2, 2006 Thriller Troubled Waters. Also in 2006, she ended the fourth season of The L Word, which aired on the U.S. pay- TV channel Showtime in January 2007. Beals has over twenty years with the Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, on account of which they learned sign language, friends.
- 2005: Golden Gate Award ( GLAAD Media Awards )
- 1998: Golden Satellite Award ( Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television for "The Twilight of the Golds " )
- 1984: Image Award ( Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture for " Flashdance " )
- 1984: Golden Globe nomination ( Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy / Musical for " Flashdance " )
- 1984: Jupiter ( Best Actress )