“I can bring stars, I've worked with terrific cameramen, but people still have a better chance of making their $150m films because they're not interested in the kind of profits I can bring if I'm profitable.” Woody Allen
Hollywood film director, screenwriter, actor and author Woody Allen is best known for his bittersweet comic films containing elements of parody, slapstick, and the absurd. He is also recognized as a concerned director for women, writing strong and well-defined characters for them. Initially establishing a reputation for himself as a popular stand-up comic in the 1960s, Allen made a wonderful transition to acclaimed filmmaker and scripter in the late 1970s. In 1977, Allen acquired worldwide appreciation for the critically-acclaimed Annie Hall, in which he also cast himself as the lead, opposite Diane Keaton. The film was a phenomenal success, netting four Oscars, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Director for Allen. In addition to Oscars, Allen also picked up two BAFTA Awards, a Directors Guild of America Award, two New York Film Critics Circle Awards, a National Society of Film Critics Award and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award. Allen cemented his position as a successful filmmaker with the release of Manhattan (1979), where he nabbed many awards like a BAFTA Award, a National Society of Film Critics Award, a New York Film Critics Circle and a Caesar award.
In the mid 1980s, Allen attracted public attention when he scripted and helmed The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985, starring Mia Farow). Due to Allen’s bravura effort, he was handed a Cesar Award, a Cannes Film Festival Fipresci Prize Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award, a Golden Globe Award, as well as a BAFTA Award. Allen garnered even more recognition after mixing his love of both disastrous and humorous elements, which resulted in the award-winning Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). Allen’s outstanding work on the film won him a third Academy Award in 1986, as well as two BAFTA Awards and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award and a National Board of Review Award. In addition to receiving phrase as a director and writer, Allen’s bright acting netted an American Comedy Award.
Off screen, Allen was once listed as the 4th of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Standups of All Time” and the 10th of Empire magazine’s “The Greatest Directors Ever” in 2005. He was also named the 89th of Empire magazine’s “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History” in 1995. As for his private life, Allen has been married three times. He married first wife Harlene Rosen in 1956, but they divorced in 1962. Allen next tied the knot with actress Louise Lasser in 1964, but he divorced his second wife after a five-year of marriage. He is now the husband of Soon-Yi Previn, whom he wed in 1997. In addition to his three marriages, Allen was romantically involved with actress Diane Keaton. The couple even lived together for a few years. After their separation in 1980, Allen began his long-term romance with actress Mia Farrow, with whom he shares a son named Satchel O'Sullivan Farrow (born in 1987). However, the couple eventually split up in 1992 after Allen confessed to a romantic involvement with Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn in the winter of 1991.
Childhood and Family:
In Brooklyn, New York, Allan Stewart Konigsberg, who would be famous as Woody Allen, was born on December 1, 1935. He grew up under the guidance of his Jewish parents, Martin Konigsberg (waiter, jewelry engraver) and Netty Konigsberg (bookkeeper). Allen also has one younger sister named Letty Aronson who is 8 years his junior.
Young Allen spent eight years studying at a Hebrew school before attending Public School 99 and Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York. While in Midwood, Allen, who was named “Red” due to his hair, wooed his school peers with his bizarre skills at magic tricks and cards. He also developed a knack for writing and started selling one-liners to gossip columns at age 15. By age 16, he had been hired to write for show stars like Sid Caesar.
After graduating high school, Allen enrolled in New York University. However, after only one semester, he decided to quit because of poor grades. Next, Allen went to City College of New York, but again dropped out before he could graduate.
When he was 20, on March 15, 1956, Allen married Harlene Rosen, but they later divorced in 1962. Two years after the separation, he began a new family with Banana co-star Louise Lasser, whom he wed on February 2, 1964. Unfortunately, Allen’s second marriage also ended in divorce in 1969. In 1997, Allen married Mia’s Farrow adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. Though Previn is about 35 years younger than him, Allen reveals that the huge age gap doesn’t cause any conflict in their marriage. He even enjoys the fatherly feelings he has towards his wife.
“Our marriage has a more paternal feeling to it. I love to do things to make her happy. She loves to do things to make me happy.” Woody Allen on Soon-Yi Previn
With his long-term lover Mia Farrow, Allen shares a son named Satchel O'Sullivan Farrow (born on December 19, 1987) and two adopted children, a son named Moses Amadeus Farrow (Korean, born in 1979) and a daughter named Dylan O'Sullivan Farrow (born 1985). Allen and wife Soon-Yi Previn also adopted two daughters, Bechet (Bih-Shay) Dumaine Allen and Manzie Tio Allen.
Hannah and Her Sisters
A gifted comedian from an early age, Woody Allen began writing stand-up comedy monologues while still in high school. His first taste in the entertainment industry arrived in 1950 when he was recruited to write material for such TV shows as “Your Show of Shows” (1950) and “The Colgate Comedy Hour” (1950), and Allen continued to write for “Caesar’ Hour” (1954), “Stanley” (1956) and “The Garry Moore Show” (1958). By 1960, Allen had begun his successful career as a stand-up comedian, honing what would become his comic persona, an insecure and doubt-ridden person who playfully exaggerates his own disappointments. He soon became a popular comedian and appeared regularly in nightclubs and on television. Also in 1960, Allen wrote for the popular Candid Camera television show.
Allen began writing and directing plays and films, often also acting in the latter. In 1965, working with director Clive Donner, he made his feature film acting and writing debut with the ridiculous, but uneven, What's New, Pussycat? Allen’s first play, “"Don't Drink the Water,” appeared on Broadway in the following year, about the same time he debuted as a filmmaker with What's Up Tiger Lily (1966). His next directed film, the James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967), in which he also acted in and co-wrote, catapulted Allen on one of the most triumphant and unusual filmmaking careers.
Allen directed, scripted and starred in an absurd comedy about a bungling, would-be criminal called Take the Money and Run (1969), followed by Bananas (1971), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask (1972), Sleeper (1973) and Love and Death (1975). His bright work on Sleeper garnered Allen a National Board of Review Special Citation for Best Screenplay. In 1972, Allen also starred opposite Diane Keaton in the big screen version of his booming Broadway play, Play It Again, Sam. In 1976, he starred in, but did not direct, The Front, a serious look at Hollywood blacklisting during the 1950s.
Back to the director’s chair in 1977, Allen experienced a breakthrough with the release of the award-wining Annie Hall (also served as a star and co-writer), a modern classic that marked a major turn to more sophisticated humor and thoughtful drama. His spectacular effort handed him the prestigious Academy Award, a BAFTA, a Directors Guild of America and a New York Film Critics Circle for Best Director. Moreover, Allen’s brilliant collaboration with writer Marshall Bricman nabbed several awards, including an Oscar, a BAFTA, a National Society of Film Critics, a New York Film Critics Circle and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association for Best Original Screenplay. The film also won two Oscars, one for Best Actress (Diane Keaton) and Best Picture.
After directing and writing his first drama Interiors (1978, earned Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Screnplay), Allen scored another success with his most profitable, and arguably his best film, the serious comedy Manhattan (1979), where he took home many awards like a BAFTA for Best Screenplay (shared with Marshall Brickman), a National Society of Film Critics and a New York Film Critics Circle for Best Director, as well as a Caesar for Best Foreign Film.
In the 1980s, most of Allen’s films, even comedies, showed solemn and philosophical feelings. In the 1980 Stardust Memories, the lead character (which was played by Allen himself) expresses hatred and contempt for his fans. Three years later, Allen’s directorial effort won him praise and a Film Festival Italian Critics Pasinetti Prize when he directed the 1983 Zelig. Though the Broadway Danny Rose (1984) was mainly dismissed by critics as a minor outing, Allen nabbed a BAFTA for Best Original Screen Play. Allan again drew accolades with The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), in which he cast Mia Farrow as the timid wife of a rude husband. The film netted Allen a Caesar for Best Foreign Film, a Cannes Film Festival Fipresci Prize for Non-Competing Film, a New York Film Critics Circle and a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, as well as a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay.
For much of the rest of the decade, Allen focused on dramatic material. Combining his love of both tragic and comic elements, he began with Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), which centered on a New York family relationship. The result was amazing and the film won a 1986 Oscar, a BAFTA and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association for Best Original Screenplay. As the film director, Allan picked up a New York Film Critics Circle, a National Board of Review and a BAFTA for Best Director. Allan’s fine acting (starred as Mickey Sachs), also handed him an American Comedy for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture.
After the new-age-themed Alice (1990) and the critically-reviled Shadows and Fog (1992), Allen once more turned the heads of critics with one of Allen’s most emotionally violent films, Husbands and Wives (1992). Allan netted a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay for his work on the film. The following years found Allen rejoining Marshall Brickman and Diane Keaton for Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) and teaming up with writer Douglas McGrath for the period comedy Bullets Over Broadway (1994), a film about a writer (John Cusack as Allen’s screen alter ego) who reaches victory through relations with mobsters. Bullets Over Broadway benefited from good performances, notably Dianne Wiest’s Academy Award-winning turn as a past-her-prime stage diva. Deconstructing Harry (1997) was critically-praised and Allen earned a nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars, making him the most nominated screenwriter in Academy history. In 1998, he released Celebrity while also providing his voice for the characters of the worker ant Z in the DreamWorks-produced animated film Antz (1998). At the end of decade, Allen directed and scripted Sweet and Lowdown, which concentrated on a 1930s jazz guitarist.
From the mid 1990s till the remainder of the decade, Allen was honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards, which including the Venice Film Festival Golden Lion (1995), Directors Guild of America D W Griffith (1996) and Las Vegas Film Critics Society (1998). He was also honored with a BAFTA for Academy Fellowship (1997) and a London Critics Circle Film for Special Achievement (1998).
The director’s movies from 2000-2004 include Small Time Crooks (2000), The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), Sounds From a Town I Love (2001, TV), Hollywood Ending (2002), Anything Else (2003) and Melinda and Melinda (2004). Recently, he wrote and directed Match Point (2005, starring Scarlett Johansson), and will soon star in, direct and write the upcoming Scoop (2006).