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Woody Allen's Biography

Woody Allen was born Allen Stewart Konigsberg on 1 December 1935 in Brooklyn, New York.

Woody Allen has excelled as a film director, actor and comic writer.

Woody Allen cut his comedy teeth as a comedy writer and as a stand-up comic. Amongst those he wrote for was Sid Caesar.

In the mid-1960s Woody Allen started writing film screenplays including What's New Pussycat and Casino Royale.

The seventies saw numerous very funny films, which Woody Allen wrote, directed and starred in.

His credits around this time included Bananas, Love and Death and Annie Hall, which won three Oscars (best director, best script and best picture). However, Woody Allen was not at the ceremony to pick up the awards. Instead, he was playing the clarinet in New York.

More quality films followed including Stardust Memories and Hannah and Her Sisters, which also gained an Academy Award for best original screenplay.

The BBC describes Woody Allen's on-screen persona as "a comical and brainy New Yorker in nerdy black glasses, nervous about sex, death and modern times"

The period since 1990 has been eventful for Woody Allen. He split up with Mia Farrow and married her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn. He has also had a legal battle with his producer of many years - Jean Doumanian.

Talking at the press launch of 'Match Point' at Cannes, Woody Allen said:

"I make films because if I don't make them then I don't have anything to distract me. My whole life I am constantly fighting all kinds of depression and terror and anxiety and I find that, like a mental patient in an institution, that if they keep the patient busy finger painting then they are more relaxed."

Actor and Director, Gary Oldman said of Woody Allen in a Channel 4 feature:

"He's a genius. There is something about Woody Allen. You go to a Woody Allen movie and it's like being in the company of a friend. There is something incredibly familiar about it. It's like being out at dinner with someone that's funny or that you really like. It's as familiar as that. You sit there and he's going to take you on a journey for a couple of hours. It's the observations. He's just a wonderful film maker."

In 2006, Woody Allen was nominated for the Best Screenplay Oscar for the film Match Point.

In this revealing interview with Woody Allen, he describes how personal his films are:

"Film-making - to be a film director, you know is not a democracy it's really a tyranny. You're the head of the project, for better rather than worse in this particular case, I write the film and I direct the film I decide who's going to be in it, I decide on the editing, I put in the music from my own record collection, I write about what I want to write about, and so the film comes out as a very personal expression even if its subject matter is totally prefabricated."

In 2008 Woody Allen released a comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona which stars Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson.

In August 2008 The Village Voice reported how "Allen has already completed another film — the first he has made in New York since 2004 — titled Whatever Works, starring Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David, and scheduled for release next year."

In September 2008, Woody Allen made his debut as an opera director with the Los Angeles Opera re-interpreting Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini.

In 2010, Woody Allen wrote and directed his 40th feature film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

In May 2011, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris opened the Cannes Film Festival.

Subsequent Woody Allen films include To Rome With Love and Blue Jasmine.

More information on Woody Allen


The Guardian's Woody Allen Quiz.

Related biographies to Woody Allen


Kenneth Branagh
Martin Scorsese
Jerry Seinfeld

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