Actor, Comedian, Film Director, Playwright, Musician, Clarinetist, Screenwriter, Author
Woody Allen (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 personality. In 2004, Comedy Central 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 comedian. By the mid-1960s Allen was writing and directing films, first specializing in slapstick comedies before moving into more dramatic material influenced by 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 are Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and Midnight in Paris (2011). Critic Roger Ebert described Allen as "a treasure of the cinema". Allen also performs regularly as a jazz clarinetist at small venues in Manhattan, including the Carlyle Hotel on Monday nights. --- Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg in 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 Russia and Austria, who spoke Yiddish, Hebrew, and German. Both of his parents were born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Allen has a sister, Letty, who was born in 1943, and was raised in Midwood, Brooklyn. His childhood was not particularly happy: his parents did not get along, and he had a rocky relationship with his stern, temperamental mother. Allen spoke German quite a bit during his early years. While attending Hebrew schoolfor eight years, he went to Public School 99 (now The Isaac Asimov School for Science and Literature) and to 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 team. He impressed students with his extraordinary talent at card and magic tricks. 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 inter-faith 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 Lajos Egri. He became a full-time writer for humorist Herb Shriner, initially earning $25 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. 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 writing style. --- His first movie was the Charles K. Feldman production What's New Pussycat? in 1965, for which he wrote the initial screenplay. 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, comic dialogue. 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 eventually became Bananas (1971, also co-written with Rose), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972), Sleeper (1973), and Love and Death (1975). Sleeper was the first of four films whose screenplay was co-written by Allen and Marshall Brickman. --- Allen has won four Academy Awards: three for Best Original Screenplay (Annie Hall (1978, shared with Marshall Brickman);Hannah and Her Sisters (1987) and Midnight in Paris (2011)), along with one for 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 with seven Best Director nominations. --- 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 relationships with 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." 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 Tolstoy and 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 in 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. The film 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 has 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 as Ronan Seamus Farrow). Allen did not adopt any of Farrow's other family, including Soon-Yi Farrow Previn (the adopted daughter of Farrow and 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 ending his relationship with Mia Farrow in 1992, Allen continued his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn. Even though Allen had 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 2000, Texas).
[ Wikipedia ]
- December 01, 1935 (age 87)
- Actor, Comedian, Film Director, Playwright, Musician, Clarinetist, Screenwriter, Author
- Harlene Rosen
- Nettie Konigsberg, Martin Konigsberg