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Woody Allen

Woody Allen (born December 1, 1935) is one of the major American film directors and comedians of the second half of the 20th century.

He was a throwback to Charlie Chaplin in that he not only directed, but wrote his own scripts and usually starred in them too. Like Chaplin, Allen's best movies combine humor with tenderness and pathos. But Allen's film persona is a modern one, full of neuroses and psychobabble, horny but unstable with women.

Allen was born in Brooklyn, NYC as Allen Stewart Konigsberg. His parents Martin and Nettie lived in Flatbush, where he attended a Hebrew school for eight years. After that, he went to Public School 99 and then to Midwood High, where "Red" (as he was called for his distinctive red hair) impressed students with his extraordinary talent at cards. To raise money, he began writing gags[?] for the agency David O. Alber, who sold them to newspaper columnists. At sixteen, he started writing for show stars like Sid Caesar and started calling himself Woody Allen.

After school, he went to New York University, where he took a Communication Arts Course, but soon dropped out. At nineteen, he married Harlene Rosen and started writing scripts for The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show and others. In 1957, he won his first Emmy Award; about the same time, he divorced Harlene.

He started writing prose and plays, and in 1960, started a new career as a stand-up comedian and also began writing for the popular Candid Camera television show, even appearing in some episodes. Together with his managers he turned his weaknesses into his strengths and developed the neurotic, nervous and shy figure famous from his later movies.

His first movie production was What's New, Pussycat? in 1965. His first directoral effort was What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), in which an existing Japanese movie was redubbed in English with completely new, comic dialogue. In 1967, he appeared in the offbeat James Bond film, Casino Royale. His first conventional directing effort was Take The Money and Run[?] (1969); some of his early films include Bananas[?], Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex[?], Sleeper[?], and Love and Death[?]. These films relied mainly on slapstick and one-liners.

In 1976, he starred in, but did not direct, The Front, a serious look at Hollywood blacklisting during the 1950s. He returned to directing in 1977's Annie Hall, a film that marked a major turn away to more sophisticated humor (the movie won four Academy Awards), and he even directed some serious dramas, like Interiors. His most successful movies were the New York trilogy (Annie Hall, Manhattan and Stardust Memories[?]).

His 1980s films are frequently compared to Russian and Polish films; most of them have sad endings, like The Purple Rose of Cairo[?]. His dramas, like September[?], are often said to imitate those of European directors, most of all Ingmar Bergman.

In the 1990s he returned to lighter movies and to happy endings: (Bullets Over Broadway[?], Everyone Says I Love You, and others). In 1992, there was much upheaval when he split from long-term partner Mia Farrow after she discovered his secret affair with her adopted daughter, Soon Yi. Farrow accused him of being a pedophile and of abusing their seven-year-old daughter Dylan. These events made Woody Allen disappear from the screen for a while and stimulated much interpretation of his later movies, especially of Husbands and Wives[?] which describes the crises of a long-married couple, with Farrow and Allen in the main roles (the movie was shot before the split).

Allen and Soon Yi married in Venice on December 23, 1997.

Woody Allen continued his successful career; his recent movies include Mighty Aphrodite[?] (also starring Helena Bonham Carter), Small Time Crooks[?], Celebrity[?], and Hollywood Ending[?].

Allen is a talented clarinettist who has been performing publicly at least since the late 1960s. He makes regular New York appearances with a band specializing in early twentieth century and New Orleans jazz[?]. The documentary film Wild Man Blues (directed by Barbara Kopple[?]) documents a European tour by Allen and band, as well as his relationship with Soon Yi.

Filmography as director includes

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