Woody Allen (Allan Stewart Konigsberg)
Born: December 1, 1935, The Bronx, New York
Occupation: Director, Writer, and Actor
Marital Status: Harlene Rosen (Divorced), Louise Lasser (Divorced), and Married to Soon-Yi Previn
Children: Dylan Farrow (Adopted), Moshe Farrow (Adopted), Ronan Farrow, Bechet Dumaine (Adopted), Manzie Tio (Adopted)
Education: New York University (Dropped Out), City College of New York (Dropped Out)
“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
Woody Allen is one of the greatest cinematic visionaries in all of film history. There’s no use trying to deny it or debate it. His accomplishments speak for themselves. Allen has completed over 40 films that include such commercial and critical hits as Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Midnight in Paris. Other than being a cinema heavyweight, he tends to use his films as showcases for New York City; for that reason he is synonymous with New York City.
Allen grew up in the Bronx in a typical, and sometimes-boisterous Jewish family. Allen would use his childhood experiences as fodder for material for his comedies and stand-up. When he was 17, he legally changed his name to Heywood Allen from Allen Stewart Konigsberg. Allen would go on to attend NYU, but after failing a movie production course, dropped out.
Surprisingly Allen’s career started to build some steam after dropping out of school. He became a writer for Your Show of Shows, and even earned an Emmy Nomination for his work. Allen wrote and starred in What’s New, Pussycat? In 1964 and wrote his first play, Don’t Drink the Water, the following year. Other hits included Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask), Play It Again, Sam and Sleeper.
Although Allen had tasted success before, his ascension to Hollywood’s elite would begin with 1977’s Annie Hall. He starred, directed, and co-wrote the movie. It won four Academy Awards, including for best picture, best director, and best screenplay.
Allen followed up Annie Hall with 1979’s Manhattan. Like Annie Hall, it was very successful. Although many of Woody Allen’s movies are filmed in New York City, Manhattan was a showcase for the city Wood Allen loved so much. It earned two Academy Award nominations.
Allen’s later hits included A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy and Hannah and Her Sisters, which earned him his second Academy Award. Other than his signature movies, Allen has the misfortune of being remembered for infidelity with his then-girlfriend Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. Allen lost custody of his children with Farrow, but would marry Soon-Yi in 1997.
Allen’s recent movies include Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and Midnight in Paris. While the others have received mixed reviews, Midnight in Paris won the 2012 Academy Award for best original screenplay.
Featured Image Courtesy of Out of Order