From Wikipedia, the free
(born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; December 1, 1935) is an
American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, author, playwright,
and musician whose career spans over half a century.
He began as a comedy
writer in the 1950s, penning jokes and scripts for television and also
publishing several books of short humor pieces.
In the early 1960s, Allen
started performing as a stand-up comic, emphasizing monologues
rather than traditional jokes. As a comic, he developed the persona
of an insecure, intellectual, fretful
nebbish, which he insists is quite different from his real-life
ranked Allen in fourth place on a list of the 100 greatest stand-up
comics, while a UK survey ranked Allen as the third greatest
By the mid-1960s Allen was
writing and directing films, first specializing in
slapstick comedies before moving into more dramatic material
European art cinema during the 1970s. He is often identified as
part of the
New Hollywood wave of filmmakers of the mid-1960s to late '70s.
Allen often stars in his own films, typically in the persona he
developed as a standup. Some of the best-known of his over 40 films
Annie Hall (1977),
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and
Midnight in Paris (2011). Critic
Roger Ebert described Allen as "a treasure of the cinema".
He is also a
jazz clarinetist who performs regularly at small venues in
Manhattan, including the Carlyle Hotel on Monday nights.
Allen as a high school senior,
Allen was born Allan Stewart
The Bronx and raised in
Brooklyn, NY, the son of Nettie (born Cherrie; November 8, 1906 –
January 27, 2002), a bookkeeper at her family's delicatessen, and
Martin Konigsberg (December 25, 1900 – January 13, 2001), a jewelry
engraver and waiter.
His family was
Ashkenazi Jewish; his grandparents were immigrants from
Austria, who spoke
Both of his parents were born and raised on the
Lower East Side of
Allen has a sister,
Letty, who was born in 1943, and was raised in
His childhood was not particularly happy: his parents did not get
along, and he had a rocky relationship with his stern, temperamental
Allen spoke German quite a bit during his early years.
Hebrew school for eight years, he went to Public School 99 (now
Isaac Asimov School for Science and Literature)
Midwood High School.
During that time, he lived in an apartment at 968 East 14th Street.
Unlike his comic persona, he was more interested in baseball than
school and his strong arms ensured he was the first to be picked for a
He impressed students with his extraordinary talent at card and
To raise money he began writing jokes (or "gags") for the agent David
O. Alber, who sold them to newspaper columnists. According to Allen,
his first published joke read: "Woody Allen says he ate at a
restaurant that had O.P.S. prices – over people's salaries."
He began to call himself Woody
Allen. He would later joke that when he was young he was often sent to
summer camps, where he "was savagely beaten by children of all
races and creeds."
At the age of 17, he legally changed his name to Heywood Allen.
He was already earning more than both of his parents combined.
After high school, he attended
New York University, where he studied communication and film. He
later briefly attended
City College of New York and soon flunked out. Later, he learned
via self-study rather than the classroom.
He eventually taught at
The New School. He also studied with writing teacher
Writer and comedian
He became a full-time writer for
Herb Shriner, initially earning $75 a week.
At the age of 19, he started writing scripts for
The Ed Sullivan Show,
The Tonight Show, specials for
Sid Caesar post-Caesar's
Hour (1954–1957), and other television shows.p.111
By the time he was working for Caesar, he was making $1,500 a week;
with Caesar he worked alongside
Danny Simon, whom Allen credits for helping him to form his
In 1961, he started a new career
stand-up comedian, debuting in a
Greenwich Village club called the Duplex.
He released three LP albums of live nightclub recordings: the
self-titled Woody Allen (Colpix 518; 1964), Volume 2 (Colpix 488,
1965), and The Third Woody Allen Album (Capitol 2986; 1968) which was
recorded at a fund-raiser for Eugene McCarthy's presidential run. The
material from these albums were edited and abridged into the 2-LP
compilation albums Standup Comic and Nightclub Years
1964–1968 [also on CD], including his "The Moose" routine, which
was co-written with
Together with his managers, Allen developed a neurotic, nervous, and
intellectual persona for his stand-up routine, a successful move that
secured regular gigs for him in nightclubs and on television. Allen
brought innovation to the comedy
monologue genre and his stand-up comedy is considered influential.
Allen wrote for the popular
Candid Camera television show, and appeared in some episodes.
Allen started writing short
stories and cartoon captions for magazines such as
The New Yorker; he was inspired by the tradition of four
prominent New Yorker's humorists,
S. J. Perelman,
George S. Kaufman,
Robert Benchley and
Max Shulman, whose material he modernized.
Allen is also an accomplished author, having published
four collections of his short pieces and plays.
Side Effects and Mere Anarchy. His early comic fiction
was heavily influenced by the zany, pun-ridden humour of
S.J. Perelman. In 2010, Allen released digital spoken word
versions of his four books on Audible.com and iTunes in which he reads
73 short story selections from his work and for which he was nominated
for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.
He also became a successful
Broadway playwright and wrote
Don't Drink the Water in 1966. It starred
Anita Gillette and Allen's future movie co-star
Tony Roberts. A
film adaptation of the play, directed by Howard Morris, was
released in 1969, starring
Jackie Gleason. Because he was not particularly happy with the
1969 film version of his play, in 1994, Allen directed and starred in
third version for television, with
Michael J. Fox and
The next play Allen wrote that
was produced on Broadway was Play It Again, Sam, in which he
also starred. The play opened on February 12, 1969, and ran for 453
performances. It also featured
Diane Keaton and
Tony Roberts. Allen, Keaton and Roberts would reprise their roles
in the film version of the play, directed by
Herbert Ross. For its March 21 issue,
Life featured Allen on its cover.
In 1981, his play
The Floating Light Bulb premiered on Broadway and ran for 65
performances. While receiving mixed reviews, it was noted for giving
an autobiographical insight into Allen's childhood, specifically his
fascination with magic tricks. He has written several one-act plays,
including 'Riverside Drive' and 'Old Saybrook' which both explore
well-known Allen themes.
On October 20, 2011, Allen's
one-act play Honeymoon Motel opened as part of a larger piece
Relatively Speaking on Broadway, along with two other one-acts
Ethan Coen and
Allen in Take the Money and
His first movie was the
Charles K. Feldman production
What's New Pussycat? in 1965, for which he wrote the initial
He became disappointed with the final product, which inspired him to
direct every film that he would later write.
Allen's first directorial effort was
What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966, co-written with Mickey Rose), in
which an existing Japanese spy movie – Kokusai himitsu keisatsu:
Kagi no kagi (1965), "International Secret Police: Key of Keys" –
was redubbed in English by Allen and his friends with entirely new,
Allen directed, starred in, and
co-wrote (with Mickey Rose)
Take the Money and Run in 1969, which received positive
reviews. He later signed a deal with
United Artists to produce several films for them. Those films
Bananas (1971, also co-written with Rose),
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to
Sleeper (1973), and
Love and Death (1975).
Sleeper was the first of
four films whose screenplay was co-written by Allen and
In 1972, Allen wrote and starred
in the film version of
Play It Again, Sam, which was directed by
Herbert Ross and co-starred Diane Keaton. In 1976, he starred in
The Front (directed by
Martin Ritt) a humorous and poignant account of Hollywood
blacklisting during the 1950s.
Then came two of Allen's most
Annie Hall won four
Academy Awards in 1977, including
Best Actress in a Leading Role for
Best Original Screenplay and
Best Director for Woody Allen.
Annie Hall set the standard for modern romantic comedy and
also started a minor fashion trend with the clothes worn by
Diane Keaton in the film (the masculine clothing, such as ties
with cardigans, was actually Keaton's own). While in production, its
working title was "Anhedonia",
a term that means the inability to feel pleasure and its plot revolved
around a murder mystery. Allen re-cut the movie after production ended
to focus on the romantic comedy between Allen's character, Alvy
Singer, and Keaton's character, Annie Hall. The new version, retitled
Annie Hall (named after Keaton, Hall
being her original last name and Annie a nickname), still deals with
the theme of the inability to feel pleasure. The film is ranked at No.
35 on the
American Film Institute's "100 Best Movies" and at No. 4 on
the AFI list of "100 Best Comedies."
Manhattan, released in 1979, is a
black-and-white film that can be viewed as an homage to New York City.
As in many other Allen films, the protagonists are upper-middle class
academics. The love-hate opinion of cerebral persons found in
Manhattan is characteristic of many of Allen's movies, including
Crimes and Misdemeanors and
Annie Hall. Manhattan focuses on the complicated
relationship between a middle-aged Isaac Davis (Allen) and a
17-year-old Tracy (Mariel
Annie Hall and
Manhattan, Allen wrote and directed the dark drama
Interiors (1978), in the style of the late
Ingmar Bergman, one of Allen's chief influences.
Interiors represented a departure from Allen's "early, funny"
comedies (a line from 1980s
Allen's 1980s films, even the
comedies, have somber and philosophical undertones, with their
influences being the works of European directors, specifically
Ingmar Bergman and
Stardust Memories was based on
8½, which it parodies, and
A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy was adapted from
Smiles of a Summer Night. In
Hannah and Her Sisters, part of the film's structure and
background is borrowed from
Fanny and Alexander.
Amarcord strongly inspired
Autumn Sonata. Allen uses many elements from
Wild Strawberries. In
Crimes and Misdemeanors, Allen references a scene from Wild
A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy
was the first of 13 movies Allen made starring
Mia Farrow, who stepped into Diane Keaton's role when Keaton was
Stardust Memories features Sandy Bates,
a successful filmmaker played by Allen, who expresses resentment and
scorn for his fans. Overcome by the recent death of a friend from
illness, the character states, "I don't want to make funny movies any
more" and a running gag has various people (including a group of
visiting space aliens) telling Bates that they appreciate his films,
"especially the early, funny ones."
Allen believes this to be one of his best films.
Allen combined tragic and comic
elements in such films as
Hannah and Her Sisters and
Crimes and Misdemeanors, in which he tells two stories that
connect at the end. He also produced a vividly idiosyncratic
tragi-comical parody of documentary,
He made three films about show
Broadway Danny Rose, in which he plays a New York show
The Purple Rose of Cairo, a movie that shows the importance of
the cinema during the Depression through the character of the naive
Radio Days, which is a film about his childhood in Brooklyn
and the importance of the radio. The Purple Rose of Cairo was
Time as one of the 100 best films of all time and Allen has
described it as one of his three best films, along with
Stardust Memories and
(Allen defines them as "best" not in terms of quality but because they
came out the closest to his original vision.)
In 1989, Allen teamed up with
Francis Ford Coppola and
Martin Scorsese to make
New York Stories, an
anthology film about New Yorkers. Allen's short,
Oedipus Wrecks, is about a neurotic lawyer and his critical
mother. His short pleased critics, but New York Stories bombed
at the box office.
His 1992 film
Shadows and Fog is a black-and-white homage to the
German expressionists and features the music of
Kurt Weill. Allen then made his critically acclaimed drama
Husbands and Wives (1992), which received two Oscar
nominations: Best Supporting Actress for
Judy Davis and Best Original Screenplay for Allen. His film
Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) combined suspense with dark
comedy and marked the return of
Alan Alda and
He returned to lighter movies
Bullets Over Broadway (1994), which earned him an Academy
Award nomination for Best Director, followed by a musical,
Everyone Says I Love You (1996). The singing and dancing
scenes in Everyone Says I Love You are similar to many musicals
Fred Astaire and
Ginger Rogers. The comedy
Mighty Aphrodite (1995), in which Greek drama plays a large
role, won an
Academy Award for
Mira Sorvino. Allen's 1999 jazz-based comedy-drama
Sweet and Lowdown was also nominated for two Academy Awards
Sean Penn (Best Actor) and
Samantha Morton (Best Supporting Actress). In contrast to these
lighter movies, Allen veered into darker satire towards the end of the
Deconstructing Harry (1997) and
Celebrity (1998). Allen made his only sitcom "appearance" to
date (2009) via telephone on the show
Just Shoot Me! in a 1997 episode, "My Dinner with Woody" which
paid tribute to several of his films. Allen also provided the lead
voice in the 1998 animated film
Antz, which featured many actors he had worked with and had
Allen play a character that was similar to his earlier neurotic roles.
Small Time Crooks (2000) was his first
film with the
DreamWorks studio and represented a change in direction: Allen
began giving more interviews and made an attempt to return to his
slapstick roots. Small Time Crooks was a relative financial
success, grossing over $17 million domestically but Allen's next four
films floundered at the box office, including Allen's most expensive
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (with a budget of $26 million).
Anything Else, and
Melinda and Melinda were given "rotten" ratings from
Rotten Tomatoes and each earned less than $4 million domestically.
Some critics claimed that Allen's films since 1999's Sweet and
Lowdown were subpar and expressed concern that Allen's best years
were now behind him.
Others have been less harsh; reviewing the little-liked Melinda and
Roger Ebert wrote, "I cannot escape the suspicion that if Woody
had never made a previous film, if each new one was Woody's Sundance
debut, it would get a better reception. His reputation is not a dead
shark but an albatross, which with admirable economy Allen has
arranged for the critics to carry around their own necks."
Woody gave his godson Quincy Rose a small part in Melinda and
Melinda. Allen was elected a Fellow of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001.
Match Point (2005) was one of Allen's
most successful films of the decade, garnering very positive reviews.
Set in London, it starred
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and
Scarlett Johansson. It is also markedly darker than Allen's first
four films with DreamWorks SKG. In Match Point, Allen shifts
his focus from the intellectual upper class of New York to the moneyed
upper class of London. It earned more than $23 million domestically
(more than any of his films in nearly 20 years) and over $62 million
in international box office sales.
Match Point earned Allen
his first Academy Award nomination since 1998, for Best Writing –
Original Screenplay and also earned directing and writing nominations
at the Golden Globes, his first Globe nominations since 1987. In an
Premiere Magazine, Allen stated this was the best film he has
Allen returned to London to film
Scoop, which also starred Johansson,
Kevin McNally and Allen himself. The film was released on July 28,
2006, and received mixed reviews. He has also filmed
Cassandra's Dream in London. Cassandra's Dream was
released in November 2007, and stars
Ewan McGregor and
After finishing his third London
film, Allen headed to Spain. He reached an agreement to film
Vicky Cristina Barcelona in
Avilés, Barcelona and
Oviedo, where shooting started on July 9, 2007. The movie stars
Rebecca Hall and
Speaking of his experience there, Allen said: "I'm delighted at being
able to work with Mediapro and make a film in Spain, a country which
has become so special to me." Vicky Cristina Barcelona was well
received, winning "Best Musical or Comedy" at the Golden Globe awards.
Penélope Cruz received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
for her role in the film.
Allen has said that he "survives"
on the European market. Audiences there have tended to be more
receptive to Allen's films, particularly in Spain, France and Italy –
countries where he has a large audience (something joked about in
Hollywood Ending). "In the United States things have changed a
lot, and it's hard to make good small films now," Allen said in a 2004
interview. "The avaricious studios couldn't care less about good
films – if they get a good film they're twice as happy but
money-making films are their goal. They only want these $100 million
pictures that make $500 million."
In April 2008, he began filming
for a movie focused more towards older audiences starring
Evan Rachel Wood.
Released in 2009,
described as a dark comedy, follows the story of a botched suicide
attempt turned messy love triangle. Whatever Works was written
by Allen in the 1970s and the character now played by
Larry David was originally written for
Zero Mostel, who died the year Annie Hall came out.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,
filmed in London, stars
Freida Pinto and
Naomi Watts. Filming started in July 2009. It was released
theatrically in the US on September 23, 2010, following a Cannes debut
in May 2010, and a screening at the
Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2010. Allen
announced that his next film would be titled
Midnight in Paris,
Gad Elmaleh and
Carla Bruni, who was the First Lady of France at the time of
production. The film followed a young engaged couple in Paris who see
their lives transformed. It debuted at the
2011 Cannes Film Festival on May 12, 2011. Allen said he wanted to
"show the city emotionally," during the press conference. "I just
wanted it to be the way I saw Paris – Paris through my eyes," he
Midnight in Paris has overtaken
Hannah and Her Sisters as Allen's most successful film at the
box office in the United States.
It has also opened to much critical acclaim, and has been considered
by many critics to mark his return to form.
His next film,
To Rome with Love, was a Rome-set comedy released in 2012. The
film was structured in four different vignettes featuring dialogue in
both Italian and English. It marked Allen's return to acting since his
last role in Scoop.
Allen is currently in the
post-production stages of his next film,
The film is set in San Francisco and New York and stars Alec Baldwin,
Cate Blanchett, Louis CK, Andrew Dice Clay, Michael Emerson, Sally
Hawkins and Peter Sarsgaard.
For many years, Allen wanted to
make a film about the origins of jazz in New Orleans. The film,
tentatively titled American Blues, would follow the vastly
different careers of
Louis Armstrong and
Sidney Bechet. Allen has stated that the film would cost between
$80 and $100 million and is therefore unlikely to be made.
It was announced in February 2012
that Allen would adapt
Bullets Over Broadway into a Broadway musical scheduled to
open in 2013.
Distinction in the film world
List of awards and nominations received by Woody Allen
Life-size statue of Woody Allen
Over the course of his career,
Allen has received a considerable number of
awards and distinctions in
film festivals and yearly national film awards ceremonies,
saluting his work as a director, screenwriter, and actor.
- Allen's film
Annie Hall won four
Academy Awards in 1977, including
- Allen won the 1978
O. Henry Award for his short story The Kugelmass Episode,
The New Yorker on May 2, 1977.
- Allen twice won the
César Award for Best Foreign Film, the first in 1980, for
Manhattan and the second in 1986, for The Purple Rose of
Cairo. Seven other of his movies were nominated for the prize.
- In 1986, Allen won the
Golden Globe for Best Screenplay for
The Purple Rose of Cairo. In 2009 he won the same award for
Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for
Vicky Cristina Barcelona. In 2012, he won the Best
Screenplay award for
Midnight in Paris which was also nominated for Best Motion
Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Director and Best Actor
Owen Wilson. Overall, Allen has been nominated five times as
Best Director, five times for Best Screenplay and twice for Best
- At the 1995
Venice Film Festival, Allen received a Career
Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.
- In 1996, Allen received a
lifetime achievement award from the
Directors Guild of America.
- In 2002, Allen won the
Prince of Asturias Award. Subsequently, the city of
Oviedo, Spain, erected a life-size statue of Allen.
- In 2002, Allen received the
Palme des Palmes, a special lifetime achievement award granted
- In a 2005 UK poll The
Comedian's Comedian, Allen was voted the third greatest comedy
act ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.
- In June 2007, Allen received a
PhD Honoris Causa from
Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain.
- In 2010, Allen received the
1st Annual 20/20 Award for Best Original Screenplay for
Crimes and Misdemeanors. He was also nominated for Best
Director, and the film won for Best Picture.
Allen has won four
Academy Awards: three
Best Original Screenplays (Annie
Hall (1978, shared with
Hannah and Her Sisters (1987) and
Midnight in Paris (2011), and one Best Director (Annie
Hall (1978)). Allen has been nominated a total of 23 times: 15
as a screenwriter, seven as a director, and once as an actor.
He has more screenwriting
Academy Award nominations than any other writer; all are in the
Best Original Screenplay category. He is tied for third all-time
Best Director nominations.
Annie Hall won four
Academy Awards (Best
Best Original Screenplay,
Best Director and
Best Actress in a Leading Role –
Diane Keaton). The film received a fifth nomination, for Allen as
Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Hannah and Her Sisters won three, for
Best Original Screenplay,
Best Actor in a Supporting Role and
Best Actress in a Supporting Role categories; it was nominated in
four other categories, including
Best Picture and
His actors have often received
both wins and nominations at the
Academy Awards for their work in his films, particularly in the
Best Supporting Actor/Best
Supporting Actress categories; in 1987,
Hannah and Her Sisters;
Dianne Wiest again won for
Bullets Over Broadway;
and in 2009
Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Despite friendly recognition from
the Academy, Allen has consistently refused to attend the ceremony or
acknowledge his Oscar wins. He broke this pattern only once. At the
Academy Awards ceremony in 2002, Allen made an unannounced
appearance, making a plea for producers to continue filming their
movies in New York City after the
9-11 attacks, where he stated, "I didn't have to present anything.
I didn't have to accept anything. I just had to talk about New York
He was given a standing ovation before introducing a montage of movie
clips featuring New York.
Allen has garnered a number of
wins and nominations at the
British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards in
various categories. In 1997, he received the honorary
BAFTA Fellowship for his work.
Although best known for his
films, Allen has also enjoyed a very successful career in theater,
starting as early as 1960, when Allen wrote sketches for the revue
From A to Z. His first great success was
Don't Drink the Water, which opened in 1968, and ran for 598
performances for almost two years on Broadway. His success continued
with Play It Again, Sam, which opened in 1969, starring Allen
Diane Keaton. The show played for 453 performances and was
nominated for three
Tony Awards, although none of the nominations were for Allen's
writing or acting.
In the 1970s, Allen wrote a
number of one-act plays, most notably
Death, which were published in his 1975 collection
In 1981, Allen's play
The Floating Light Bulb opened on Broadway. The play was a
critical success but a commercial flop. Despite two
Tony Award nominations, a Tony win for the acting of
Brian Backer (who also won the 1981
Theater World Award and a
Drama Desk Award for his work), the play only ran for 62
After a long hiatus from the
stage, Allen returned to the theater in 1995, with the one-act
Central Park West, an installment in an evening of theater known
as Death Defying Acts that was also made up of new work by
David Mamet and
For the next couple of years,
Allen had no direct involvement with the stage, yet notable
productions of his work were being staged. A production of God
was staged at The Bank of Brazil Cultural Center in
Rio de Janeiro,
and theatrical adaptations of Allen's films Bullets Over Broadway
were produced in Italy and France, respectively, without Allen's
involvement. In 1997, rumors of Allen returning to the theater to
write a starring role for his wife Soon-Yi Previn turned out to be
In 2003, Allen finally returned
to the stage with Writer's Block, an evening of two one-acts –
Old Saybrook and Riverside Drive – that played
Off-Broadway. The production marked the stage-directing debut for
The production sold out its entire run.
Also that year, reports of Allen
writing the book for a musical based on Bullets Over Broadway
surfaced, but no show ever formulated.
In 2004, Allen's first full-length play since 1981, A Second Hand
was directed by Allen and enjoyed an extended run
In June 2007, it was announced
that Allen would make two more creative debuts in the theater,
directing a work that he did not write and directing an opera – a
Gianni Schicchi for the
Los Angeles Opera –
which debuted at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on September 6, 2008.
Commenting on his direction of the opera, Allen said, "I have no idea
what I'm doing." His production of the opera opened the
Festival of Two Worlds in
Spoleto, Italy, in June 2009.
In October 2011, Woody Allen's
one-act play called Honeymoon Motel premiered as one in a
series of one act plays on Broadway titled Relatively Speaking.
Also contributing to the plays are
Elaine May and
Ethan Coen with
John Turturro directing.
Marriages and romantic
Allen has had three wives:
Harlene Rosen (1956–1962),
Louise Lasser (1966–1970) and his present marriage to Soon-Yi
Previn (1997–present). Though Allen had a 12-year romantic
relationship with actress
Mia Farrow the two were never married. Allen also had romantic
Diane Keaton during 10 years, and Stacey Nelkin.
At age 19, Allen married
16-year-old Harlene Rosen.
The marriage lasted from 1954 to 1959.
Time stated that the years were "nettling" and "unsettling."
Rosen, whom Allen referred to in
his standup act as "the Dread Mrs. Allen," later
sued Allen for
defamation due to comments at a TV appearance shortly after their
divorce. Allen tells a different story on his mid-1960s standup album
Standup Comic. In his act, Allen said that Rosen sued him
because of a joke he made in an interview. Rosen had been
sexually assaulted outside her apartment and according to Allen,
the newspapers reported that she "had been violated." In the
interview, Allen said, "Knowing my ex-wife, it probably wasn't a
moving violation." In a later interview on
The Dick Cavett Show, Allen brought the incident up again
where he repeated his comments and stated that the amount that he was
being sued for was "$1 million."
Allen married Louise Lasser in
1966. They divorced in 1969, and Allen did not marry again until 1997.
Lasser appeared in three Allen films after the divorce – Take the
Money and Run, Bananas, and Everything You Always Wanted
to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) – and made a brief
appearance in Stardust Memories.
In 1970, Allen cast Diane Keaton
in his Broadway show,
Play It Again, Sam. During the run she and Allen became
romantically involved and although they broke up after a year, she
continued to star in a number of his films, including
Sleeper as a futuristic poet and
Love and Death as a composite character based on the novels of
Dostoevsky. Annie Hall was very important in Allen and
Keaton's careers. It is said that the role was written specifically
for her as Diane Keaton's given name is Diane Hall. She then starred
Interiors as a poet, followed by
Manhattan. In 1987, she had a cameo as a night-club singer in
Radio Days and was chosen to replace
Mia Farrow in the co-starring role for
Manhattan Murder Mystery after Allen and Farrow began having
troubles with their personal and working relationship while making
this film. Keaton has not worked with Allen since Manhattan Murder
Mystery. Since the end of their romantic relationship, Keaton and
Allen have remained close friends.
Manhattan is said by the
Los Angeles Times
to be widely known to have been based on his romantic relationship
with the actress
Stacey Nelkin. Her bit part in
Annie Hall ended up on the
cutting room floor, and their relationship, though never publicly
acknowledged by Allen, reportedly began when she was 17 years old and
a student at New York's
Stuyvesant High School.
Around 1980, Allen began a
relationship with actress Mia Farrow, who had leading roles in several
of his movies from 1982 to 1992. Farrow and Allen never married and
kept separate homes
but they adopted two children, Dylan Farrow (who changed her name to
Eliza and is now known as Malone) and Moshe Farrow (now known as
Moses); they also had one biological child, Satchel Farrow (now known
Ronan Seamus Farrow). Allen did not adopt any of Farrow's other
family, including Soon-Yi Farrow Previn (the adopted daughter of
André Previn, now known as Soon-Yi Previn). Allen and Farrow
separated in 1992, after Farrow discovered nude photographs that Allen
had taken of Soon-Yi, who was around 20 years old at the time.
In her autobiography, What Falls Away (New York: Doubleday,
1997), Farrow says that Allen admitted to a relationship with Soon-Yi.
After Allen and Farrow separated,
a long public legal battle for the custody of their three children
began. During the proceedings, Farrow alleged that Allen had sexually
molested their adopted daughter Dylan, who was then seven years old.
The judge eventually concluded that the sex abuse charges were
but called Allen's conduct with Soon-Yi "grossly inappropriate." He
called the report of the team that investigated the issue "sanitized
and therefore, less credible" and added that she had "reservations
about the reliability of the report."
Farrow won custody of their children. Allen was denied visitation
rights with Malone and could see Ronan only under supervision. Moses,
who was then 14, chose not to see Allen.
In a 2005
Vanity Fair interview,
Allen estimated that, despite the scandal's damage to his reputation,
Farrow's discovery of Allen's attraction to Soon-Yi Previn by finding
nude photographs of her was "just one of the fortuitous events, one of
the great pieces of luck in my life. . . It was a turning point for
the better." Of his relationship with Farrow, he said, "I'm sure there
are things that I might have done differently. . . Probably in
retrospect I should have bowed out of that relationship much earlier
than I did." In a report June 22, 2011, Reuters quoted Allen as
saying, "What was the scandal? I fell in love with this girl, married
her. We have been married for almost 15 years now. There was no
scandal, but people refer to it all the time as a scandal and I kind
of like that in a way because when I go I would like to say I had one
real juicy scandal in my life."
Soon-Yi Previn and Allen at the
Tribeca Film Festival
After ending his relationship
with Mia Farrow in 1992, Allen continued his relationship with Soon-Yi
Previn. Even though Allen never married Mia Farrow
and was never Previn's legal stepfather, the relationship between
Allen and Previn has often been referred to as a father involved
romantically with his stepdaughter
because she was adopted and legally Farrow's daughter and his son's
sister. In 1991,
The New York Times described Allen's family life by reporting,
"Few married couples seem more married. They are constantly in touch
with each other, and not many fathers spend as much time with their
children as Allen does."
In 1991, when the relationship
started, Allen was 56 and Previn was around 19. Asked whether their
age difference was conducive to "a healthy, equal relationship," Allen
said equality is not necessarily a requirement in a relationship and
"The heart wants what it wants. There's no logic to those things. You
meet someone and you fall in love and that's that."
Ronan Farrow is widely quoted as disparaging Allen and having said
he cannot see him. On Father's Day 2012, he
tweeted "Happy father's day— or as they call it in my family,
happy brother-in-law's day."
Previn and Allen have two adopted
daughters, Bechet Dumaine (born ca. 1999, China) and Manzie Tio (born
Woody Allen with
Jerry Zigmont and Simon Wettenhall performing at Vienne Jazz
Vienne, France, September 20, 2003
Allen is a passionate fan of
jazz, which is often featured prominently in the soundtracks to his
films. He began playing as a child and took his stage name from
He has performed publicly at least since the late 1960s, notably with
Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the soundtrack of Sleeper.
One of his earliest televised performances was on
The Dick Cavett Show on October 20, 1971.
Woody Allen and his New Orleans
Jazz Band have been playing each Monday evening at Manhattan's
Carlyle Hotel for many years
(as of 2011,
specializing in classic
New Orleans jazz from the early twentieth century).
The documentary film
Wild Man Blues (directed by
Barbara Kopple) documents a 1996 European tour by Allen and his
band, as well as his relationship with Previn. The band has released
two CDs: The Bunk Project (1993) and the soundtrack of Wild
Man Blues (1997).
Allen and his band played the
Montreal Jazz Festival on two consecutive nights in June 2008.
Significant works about Woody Allen
A panel from Stuart Hample's
Inside Woody Allen comic strip
Wild Man Blues, directed by
Barbara Kopple, there are a number of other documentaries
featuring Woody Allen, including the 2002 cable-television documentary
Woody Allen: a Life in Film, directed by
Time film critic
Richard Schickel, which interlaces interviews of Allen with clips
of his films, and
Meetin' WA, a short interview of Allen by French director
Jean-Luc Godard. In 2011 the
American Masters co-produced a comprehensive documentary about
him, Woody Allen: a Documentary directed by
Robert B. Weide.
Eric Lax authored the book Woody Allen: a biography.
From 1976 to 1984, Stuart Hample
wrote and drew
Inside Woody Allen, a comic strip based on Allen's film
Allen spent over 37 years
psychoanalysis. Many of his films contain references to
psychoanalysis. Even the film
Antz, an animated feature in which Allen contributes the voice
of lead character Z, opens with a classic piece of Allen analysis
says, "It drove his self-absorbed work." John Baxter, author of
Woody Allen – A Biography, wrote, "Allen obviously found analysis
stimulating, even exciting."
Allen says he ended his
psychoanalysis visits around the time he began his relationship with
Previn. He says he still is
Allen has described himself as
being a "Militant Freudian Atheist" in an interview in 2008.
Woody Allen filmography
Allen's films span six decades,
starting with 1965's
What's New Pussycat?. He has written, directed, and starred in
many of them, including films such as
Annie Hall (1977),
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and
Husbands and Wives (1992), all of which earned major awards.
Originally known for his comedies, his early successes were followed
by his first purely dramatic work,
In addition to directing,
writing, and acting in films, Allen has written and performed in a
number of Broadway theater productions.
- Lunatic's Tale
ISBN 1-55628-001-7 (Short story previously included in Side
^ Steven Silverman (November 6,
Woody's New Girl
People. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
^ Gross, Terry (2009/2012). "Woody
Allen: Blending Real Life With Fiction".
Fresh Air. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of all Time.
Everything2.com (April 18, 2004). Retrieved 2012-05-04.
Vanessa (January 2, 2005).
"Cook tops poll of comedy greats". The Guardian
^ Newton, Michael (January 13,
"Woody Allen: cinema's great experimentalist".
The Guardian (Guardian
News and Media). Retrieved April 9, 2012. "In the 1970s, Allen
looked irreverent, hip, a part of the New Hollywood generation. In
an age of 'auteurs', he was the auteur personified, the writer,
director and star of his films, active in the editing, choosing
the soundtrack, initiating the projects"
"Midnight in Paris :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews".
Rogerebert.suntimes.com. May 25, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-20.
^ Kelly, Nathan (June 20, 2009).
"An evening with Woody".
Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
"Woody Allen Biography (1935–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved
March 9, 2010.
"The religion of Woody Allen, director and actor". Retrieved
January 16, 2008.
^ Newman, Andy; Kilgannon, Corey
(June 5, 2002).
"Curse of the Jaded Audience: Woody Allen, in Art and Life".
The New York Times. Retrieved January 16, 2008. "'I think
he's slacked off the last few movies', said Norman Brown, 70, a
retired draftsman from Mr. Allen's old neighborhood, Midwood,
Brooklyn, who said he had seen nearly all of Mr. Allen's 33
"The Unruly Life of Woody Allen".
The New York Times. March 5, 2000. Retrieved March 9,
"The Religious Affiliation of Woody Allen, Influential Director
and Actor". Adherents.com. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
^ Meade, Marion (2000). The
unruly life of Woody Allen: a biography. New York: Scribner.
^ The principal of P.S. 99 was Mrs.
Eudora Fletcher; Allen has used her name for characters in several
of his films.
^ Woody Allen visits the house in
"Woody Allen On Life, Films And Whatever Works". June 15,
d Lax, Eric
(December 26, 2000). Woody Allen: a biography (2nd ed.). Da
"Woody Allen : Comedian Profile". Retrieved January 16, 2008.
"Woody Allen: Rabbit Running".
Time. July 3, 1972. Retrieved June 8, 2007.
Woody Allen at Encyclopædia Britannica.
"IMDb: Woody Allen". Retrieved January 17, 2008.
^ Bernstein, Adam.
"TV Comedy Writer Danny Simon Dies".
The Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
^ Michael Barrie
"Mickey Rose (1935-2013)", The Huffington Post, 15
^ Scanzi, Andrea (2002). Man on the
moon, interview with comedian
Daniele Luttazzi (in Italian). Il Mucchio Selvaggio.
"Woody Allen per un monologhista è fondamentale. E' la forma aurea
del monologo. Se uno vuole fare il monologhista, che è un genere a
parte come il mimo, deve ispirarsi a Woody Allen. Non ci si
improvvisa monologhisti. Dalla scelta di argomenti alla loro
esposizione, lui è il modello. [...] Woody Allen ha fatto cose
molto nuove. Negli anni si è spostato verso la commedia
sofisticata alla Lubitsch, o alla Wilder, perdendo però
quell'aspetto surreale che era ciò per cui più lo amavo. Il mio
film della vita è Ciao Pussycat. C'era il meglio di quella
generazione, che proprio allora si affacciava alla vita artistica.
Era un film surreale, assurdo. Allen lo ha
sconfessato, dicendo che era senza capo né coda. Ma no, Ciao
Pussycat era una formless comedy. Una "commedia senza forma", come
quella dei fratelli Marx. Un film comico non-ha bisogno della
trama, quella deve essere esilissima, il resto devono essere tutte
intuizioni comiche. All'epoca lui faceva film meravigliosi che
erano una sequenza continua di gag. Oggi ha aggiunto la
trama, la storia, sottraendo le invenzioni comiche.
Volendo essere per forza Lubitsch, ha finito col
non-essere più Woody Allen. Prendi i soldi e scappa, Il
dormiglione, Amore e guerra erano eccezionali."
"Woody Allen Candid Camera Must See". YouTube. February 15,
2009. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
^ O'Connor, John J. (February 17,
"TV Reviews; 'Candid Camera' Marks 40 Years With a Special".
The New York Times. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
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Daniele Luttazzi, preface to the Italian translation of
Allen's trilogy Complete prose,
ISBN 978-88-452-3307-4 p. 7 quote: "Uno dei tanti meriti di
Allen e' quello di aver reso moderno l'arsenale comico della
tradizione cui si ispira, quella dei monumentali umoristi della
rivista New Yorker (Perelman, Kaufman, Benchley e
. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
^ Allen, W. (October 24, 2004)
"I Appreciate George S. Kaufman",
The New York Times.
^ Woody Allen: Rabbit Running.
Time. July 3, 1972. pp. 5–6 quote: "I never had a teacher who made
the least impression on me, if you ask me who are my heroes, the
answer is simple and truthful: George S. Kaufman and the Marx
Michiko Kakutani (1995)
"Woody Allen". This interview is part I of the series The
Art of Humor, published by
Paris Review 37(136):200
^ Galef, David (February 21, 2003).
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"Amazon.com: The Insanity Defense – The Complete Prose".
amazon.com. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
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November 5, 2011.
^ Itzkoff, Dave (July 20, 2010).
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"1969 LIFE Magazine Cover Art". Retrieved January 25, 2010.
Robert B. (Director) (2011) (in English). Woody Allen: A
"Stardust Memories review". Retrieved January 17, 2008.
^ Kamp, David (November 18, 2007).
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"Woody Allen Speaks!".
Premiere Magazine. Archived from
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"Melinda and Melinda review (2004) Woody Allen – Qwipster's Movie
Reviews". Retrieved January 17, 2008.
Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2007. Google Books.
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Retrieved January 9, 2011.
"Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A". American Academy of
Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
"Match Point Reviews".
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"Box Office Mojo – People Index". Retrieved January 17, 2008.
^ Matloff, Jason (February 2006).
"Woody Allen's European Vacation".
(5): 98–101. "I think it turned out to be the best film I've ever
"Woody Allen's Next Star: Penelope Cruz – Celebrity Gossip".
FOX News. February 1, 2007. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
^ Hopewell, John (January 2, 2006).
"Spain woos Woody".
Variety. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
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movie". Hollywood Insider. Archived from
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^ Barnes, Jessica (July 31, 2008).
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^ Mark Harris (May 24, 2009).
"Twilight of the Tummlers". New York. Retrieved June
^ McNary, Dave (April 22, 2010).
"Woody Allen reveals details of upcoming pic".
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"Woody Allen's film featuring Carla Bruni opens Cannes Film
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"How Did 'Midnight in Paris' Become Woody Allen's Top-Grossing
Moviefone. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
^ Zacharek, Stephanie (May 19,
REVIEW: Woody Allen Returns to Form For Real This Time With
Midnight in Paris. Movie-Line. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
"Woody Allen adds himself to the cast of his next picture".
National Post. May 9, 2011.
^ Siegel, Tatiana (January 8,
"Sony Pictures Classics Nabs Woody Allen’s 'Blue Jasmine'".
The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
^ Kilday, Gregg (June 4, 2012).
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Dice Clay". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August
^ Lax, Eric. Conversations with
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^ Healy, Patrick (February 23,
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^ Mitchell, Elvis.
Critic's Notebook; Embracing The Auteurs At Cannes",
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Awards for Woody Allen. IMDb.com
Awards for Michael Caine (I). IMDb.com
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Awards for Penélope Cruz. IMDb.com
Awards for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). IMDb.com
^ Burr, Ty (February 21, 2003).
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^ The Broadway League (March 14,
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Credits". Ibdb. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
^ The Broadway League.
"Internet Broadway Database: The Floating Light Bulb Production
Credits". Ibdb.com. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
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France, Sept. 16". Playbill. September 15, 1999.
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Hand Memory, at Off-Bway's Atlantic". Playbill.
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"Each Family, Tortured in Its Own Way". The New York Times.
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253, 273–4, 385, 416
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c Lax, Eric
(February 24, 1991).
"Woody and Mia: A New York Story".
The New York Times. p. 5 of 12. Retrieved November 21,
2011. "They are not married, neither do they live together; their
apartments face each other across Central Park."
^ Harrison, Kathryn.
"Intimate Strangers". The New York Times. Retrieved November
^ Orth, Maureen (November 1992).
"Mia’s Story". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 16,
2012. "Nobody knows how old Soon-Yi really is. Without ever seeing
her, Korean officials put her age down as seven on her passport. A
bone scan Mia had done on her in the U.S. put her age at between
five and seven. In the family, Soon-Yi is considered to have
turned 20 this year, on October 8 ."
^ Gliatto, Tom.
"A Family Affair". People.com. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
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The New York Times.
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Peter (December 2005).
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(August 31, 1992).
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Ronan Farrow celebrates Father's Day at Woody Allen's expense.
latimes.com (June 18, 2012). Retrieved 2012-08-14.
^ Gonzalez, Victor (September 19,
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Haunukkah Show". Miami New Times. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
^ Stafford, Jeff.
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^ Galbraith, Stuart, IV (February
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Retrieved November 5, 2011.
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His New Orleans Jazz Band featuring Woody Allen, Cafe Carlyle,
Woody Allen Band". Retrieved January 17, 2008.
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International de Jazz de Montreal". Montreal Jazz Festival.
Retrieved November 5, 2011.
^ Lax, Eric (1991). Woody Allen:
a biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
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^ Remnick, David (ed.).
Wonderful Town. New York Stories from The New Yorker. New
York: The Modern Library, 2001. 48–53.
A Negative Assessment of Allen's Work By Prof. Ray Carney
Stardust Memories: Visiting Woody Michael Žantovský recalls a
memorable meeting between two giants, Woody Allen and
Essay by Victoria Loy on Woody Allen's career
- The Essential Woody Allen;
- Fun With Woody, The
Complete Woody Allen Quiz Book (Henry Holt),
- The Importance of Being
Famous: Behind the Scenes of the Celebrity Industrial Complex
Maureen Orth p233
- Woody Allen – A Biography;
John Baxter (1999)
- Woody Allen:
Conversations with Filmmakers Series,
ed. R. E. Kapsis and K. Coblentz, (2006)
- Woody Allen;
Stephan Reimertz, (rororo-Monographie), Reinbek (2005)
ISBN 3-499-50410-3 (in German)
- Woody Allen: Eine
Stephan Reimertz, Reinbek (2000)
ISBN 3-499-61145-7 (in German)
- Woody Allen On Location,
by Thierry de Navacelle (Morrow, 1987); a day-to-day account of the
Radio Days (1987)
- Woody Allen on Woody Allen:
In Conversation With Stig Bjorkman
- Woody Allen: Profane and
Sacred; Richard A. Blake (1995)
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