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Woody Allen

For the musician with a similar name, see Hoodie Allen.


Heywood Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg,[1] December 1, 1935) is an American actor, writer,
director, comedian and playwright, whose career spans
more than 50 years.
He worked as a comedy writer in the 1950s, writing jokes
and scripts for television and publishing several books
of short humor pieces. In the early 1960s, Allen began
performing as a stand-up comedian, emphasizing monologues rather than traditional jokes. As a comedian, he
developed the persona of an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish, which he maintains is quite dierent from
his real-life personality.[2] In 2004, Comedy Central[3]
ranked Allen in fourth place on a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians, while a UK survey ranked Allen
as the third greatest comedian.[4]
By the mid-1960s Allen was writing and directing lms,
rst specializing in slapstick comedies before moving into
dramatic material inuenced by European art cinema
during the 1970s, and alternating between comedies and
dramas to the present. He is often identied as part of the
New Hollywood wave of lmmakers of the mid-1960s to
late 1970s.[5] Allen often stars in his lms, typically in the
persona he developed as a standup. Some best-known
of his over 40 lms 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.[6]

Allen as a high school senior, 1953

was Ashkenazi Jewish; his grandparents immigrated from


Russia and Austria, and spoke Yiddish, Hebrew, and
German.[11][12] Both parents were born and raised on
the Lower East Side of Manhattan.[11] Allen has a sisAllen has been nominated 24 times and won four ter, Letty, who was born in 1943; they were raised in
Academy Awards: three for Best Original Screenplay and Midwood, Brooklyn.[13]
one for Best Director (Annie Hall). He has more screenHis childhood was not particularly happy: his parents
writing Academy Award nominations than any other
did not get along, and he had a rocky relationship with
writer, and has won nine British Academy of Film and
his stern, temperamental mother.[14] Allen spoke GerTelevision Arts Awards. Allen performs regularly as a
man quite a bit in his early years.[15] He would later joke
jazz clarinetist at small venues in Manhattan.[7] In 2011,
that when he was young he was often sent to inter-faith
PBS televised the lm biography, Woody Allen: A Docusummer camps, where he was savagely beaten by chilmentary, on the American Masters TV series.[8]
dren of all races and creeds.[16] While attending Hebrew
school for eight years, he went to Public School 99 (now
the Isaac Asimov School for Science and Literature)[17]
and to Midwood High School.[18] At that time, he lived in
1 Early life
an apartment at 968 East 14th Street.[19] Unlike his comic
Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg[1] in the persona, he was more interested in baseball than school
strong arms ensured he was rst to be picked for a
Bronx and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the son of and his
[20][21]
He impressed students with his extraordinary
team.
Nettie (born Cherry; November 8, 1906 January 27,
talent
at
card
and magic tricks.[16]
2002), a bookkeeper at her familys delicatessen, and
Martin Konigsberg (December 25, 1900 January 8, To raise money he wrote jokes (or gags) for agent David
2001),[9] a jewelry engraver and waiter.[10] His family O. Alber, who sold them to newspaper columnists. Ac1

cording to Allen, his rst published joke read: Woody


Allen says he ate at a restaurant that had O.P.S. prices
over peoples salaries.[22] He began to call himself
Woody Allen. At the age of 17, he legally changed
his name to Heywood Allen.[23] He was then earning
more than both parents combined.[20] After high school,
he attended New York University, studying communication and lm. He later briey attended City College of New York and soon unked out.[24] Later, he
learned via self-study rather than in the classroom.[21]
He eventually taught at The New School. He also studied with writing teacher Lajos Egri.[21]p.74 His status before the Selective Service System was 4-F, a medical
deferment,[25] although he later claimed his actual status
was 4-P, hostage.[26]

2
2.1

Career
Comedy writer

His daily writing routine could go as long as fteen hours,


and he could focus and write anywhere necessary. Dick
Cavett was amazed at Allens capacity to write: He can
go to a typewriter after breakfast and sit there until the
sun sets and his head is pounding, interrupting work only
for coee and a brief walk, and then spend the whole
evening working.[28]:551 When Allen wrote for other comedians, they would use eight out of ten of his jokes.
When he began performing as a stand-up, he was much
more selective, typically using only one out of ten jokes.
He estimated that to prepare for a 30-minute show, he
spent six months of intensive writing.[28]:551 He enjoyed
writing, however, despite the work: Nothing makes me
happier than to tear open a ream of paper. And I can't
wait to ll it! I love to do it.[28]:551
Allen started writing short stories and cartoon captions for
magazines such as The New Yorker; he was inspired by the
tradition of New Yorker humorists S. J. Perelman, George
S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley and Max Shulman, whose
material he modernized.[34][35][36][37][38] Allen has published four collections of his short pieces and plays.[39][40]
These are Getting Even, Without Feathers, Side Eects and
Mere Anarchy. His early comic ction was heavily inuenced by the zany, pun-ridden humour of S.J. Perelman.
In 2010, Allen released digital spoken word versions of
his four books, in which he reads 73 short story selections from his work and for which he was nominated for
a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.[41]

Allen began writing short jokes when he was fteen,[27]


and the following year began sending them to various
Broadway writers to see if they'd be interested in buying any. He also began going by the name Woody
Allen.[28]:539 One of those writers was Abe Burrows,
coauthor of Guys and Dolls, who wrote, Wow! His stu
was dazzling. Burrows then wrote Allen letters of introduction to Sid Caesar, Phil Silvers, and Peter Lind Hayes,
who immediately sent Allen a check for just the jokes
2.2
Burrows included as samples.[28]:541
As a result of the jokes Allen mailed to various writers, he was invited, then age nineteen, to join the NBC
Writers Development Program in 1955, followed by a
job on The NBC Comedy Hour in Los Angeles. He was
later hired as a full-time writer for humorist Herb Shriner,
initially earning $25 a week.[22] He began writing scripts
for The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, specials for
Sid Caesar post-Caesars Hour (19541957), and other
television shows.[21][29]p.111 By the time he was working
for Caesar, he was earning $1,500 a week; with Caesar,
he worked alongside Danny Simon, whom Allen credits
for helping form his writing style.[22][30] In 1962 alone he
estimated that he wrote twenty thousand jokes for various
comics.[28]:533

CAREER

Stand-up comedian

From 1960 to 1969, Allen performed as a stand-up comedian to supplement his comedy writing. His contemporaries during those years included Lenny Bruce, Shelley
Berman, the team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, and
Mort Sahl, his personal favorite. Comedy historian Gerald Nachman notes that Allen, while not the rst to do
stand-up, would eventually have greater impact than all
the others in the 1960s, and would redene the meaning of stand-up comedy: He helped turn it into biting,
brutally honest satirical commentary on the cultural and
psychological tenor of the times.[28]:525
After Allen was taken under the wing of his new manager, Jack Rollins, who had recently discovered Nichols
and May, Rollins suggested him to perform his written
jokes as a stand-up. Allen was resistant at rst, but after seeing Mort Sahl on stage, he felt safer to give it a
try: I'd never had the nerve to talk about it before. Then
Mort Sahl came along with a whole new style of humor,
opening up vistas for people like me.[28]:545 Allen made
his professional stage debut at the Blue Angel nightclub
in Manhattan in October 1960, where comedian Shelley
Berman introduced him as a young television writer who
would perform his own material.[28]:545

Allen also wrote for the Candid Camera television show,


and appeared in some episodes.[31][32][33] Along with that
show, he wrote jokes for the Buddy Hackett sitcom Stanley and The Pat Boone Show. And in 1958 he cowrote
a few Sid Caesar specials with Larry Gelbart.[28]:542 After writing for many of televisions leading comedians and
comedy shows, Allen was gaining the reputation for being
a genius, says composer Mary Rodgers. When given
an assignment for a show he would leave and come back
the next day with reams of paper, according to producer Max Liebman.[28]:542 Similarly, after writing for His early stand-up shows with his dierent style of huBob Hope, Hope called him half a genius.[28]:542
mor were not always well received or understood by his

2.3

Playwright

audiences. Very unlike other comedians, Allen spoke to 2.3


his audiences in a low-key conversational style, often appearing to be groping for the right words, although his
style was well rehearsed. He acted normal, dressed casually, and made no attempt to project a stage personality. And he did not improvise: I put very little premium on improvisation, he told Studs Terkel.[28]:532 His
jokes were simply created from life experiences, with a
comedic twist, and typically presented with a dead serious demeanor which made them funnier: I don't think
my family liked me. They put a live teddy bear in my
crib.[28]:533

Playwright

The subjects of his jokes were rarely topical, political or


even socially relevant. Unlike Bruce and Sahl, he did
not discuss current events such as civil rights, womens
rights, the Cold War, or Vietnam. And although he was
described as a classic nebbish, he did not tell Jewish
jokes. Comedy screenwriter Larry Gelbart compared Allen with the Broadway cast of Play It Again, Sam (1969).
Allens style to Elaine May: He just styled himself completely after her, he said.[28]:546 Like Nichols and May,
In 1966, Allen wrote the play Don't Drink the Water. The
he often made fun of intellectuals.
play starred Lou Jacobi, Kay Medford, Anita Gillette and
Television talk show host Dick Cavett, who was among
Allens future movie co-star Tony Roberts. A lm adaptathe minority who quickly appreciated Allens unique
tion of the play, directed by Howard Morris, was released
style, recalls seeing the audience at the Blue Angel mostly
in 1969, starring Jackie Gleason. Because he was not parignore Allens monologue: I recognized immediately
ticularly happy with the 1969 lm version of his play, in
that there was no young comedian in the country in the
1994, Allen directed and starred in a second version for
same class with him for sheer brilliance of jokes, and I
television, with Michael J. Fox and Mayim Bialik.
resented the fact that the audience was too dumb to realize what they were getting.[28]:550 It was his subdued The next play Allen wrote for Broadway was Play It
stage presence, while initially unappreciated, that eventu- Again, Sam, in which he also starred. The play opened
ally became one of Allens strongest traits, explains Nach- on February 12, 1969, and ran for 453 performances. It
man: The utter absence of showbiz veneer and shtick featured Diane Keaton and Roberts. The play was sigwas the best shtick any comedian had ever devised. This nicant to Keatons budding career, and she has stated
uneasy onstage naturalness became a trademark.[28]:530 she was in awe of Allen even before auditioning for her
When he was nally noticed by the media, writers like role, which was the rst time she met him. During an inNew York Times Arthur Gelb would describe Allens neb- terview in 2013, Keaton stated that she fell in love with
him right away, adding, I wanted to be his girlfriend so
bish quality as being Chaplinesque and refreshing.
I did something about it.[46] After co-starring alongside
Allen developed a neurotic, nervous, and intellectual perAllen in the subsequent lm version of Play It Again, Sam,
sona for his stand-up routine, a successful move that seshe would later co-star in Sleeper, Love and Death, Intericured regular gigs for him in nightclubs and on televiors, Manhattan and Annie Hall. He showed me the ropes
sion. Allen brought innovation to the comedy monologue
and I followed his lead. He is the most disciplined person
genre and his stand-up comedy would be considered
I know. He works very hard, Keaton has stated.[46] I
[42]
inuential. Allen rst appeared on the Tonight Show in
nd the same thing sexy in a man now as I always have:
November 1963. He subsequently released three LP alhumor. I love it when they are funny. Its to die for.[47]
bums of live nightclub recordings: the self-titled Woody
Allen (1964), Volume 2 (1965), and The Third Woody For its March 21, 1969, issue, Life featured Allen on
[48]
In 1981, his play The Floating Light Bulb
Allen Album (1968) recorded at a fund-raiser for Eugene its cover.
McCarthy's presidential run. The material from these al- premiered on Broadway and ran for 65 performances.
bums was edited and abridged into the 2-LP compilation While receiving mixed reviews, it gave an autobiographalbums Standup Comic and Nightclub Years 19641968 ical insight into Allens childhood, specically his fasci(also on CD), including his The Moose routine, co- nation with magic tricks. He has written several one-act
plays, including Riverside Drive and Old Saybrook explorwritten with Mickey Rose.[43]
ing well-known Allen themes.
Allen had his own TV show beginning in 1965, called The
Woody Allen Show, where he would intersperse humor On October 20, 2011, Allens one-act play Honeymoon
with interviews of famous people, including Rev. Billy Motel opened as part of a larger piece entitled Relatively
Speaking on Broadway, with two other one-act plays, one
Graham and William F. Buckley.[44][45]
by Ethan Coen and one by Elaine May.[49]

2.4

Early lms

His rst movie was the Charles K. Feldman production


Whats New Pussycat? in 1965, for which he wrote the
screenplay.[8] He was disappointed with the nal product, which inspired him to direct every lm that he would
later write.[8] Allens rst directorial eort was Whats
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 friends with fresh new, comic dialogue. In
1967, Allen played Jimmy Bond in the 007 spoof Casino
Royale.

CAREER

tute 's 100 Best Movies and at No. 4 on the AFI list of
100 Best Comedies.
Manhattan (1979), is a black-and-white lm often viewed
as an homage to New York City. As in many Allen lms,
the main protagonists are upper-middle class writers and
academics. The love-hate opinion of cerebral persons
found in Manhattan is characteristic of many of Allens
movies, including Crimes and Misdemeanors and Annie
Hall. Manhattan focuses on the complicated relationship between middle-aged Isaac Davis (Allen) with 17year-old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), and co-stars Diane
Keaton.
Keaton, who made eight movies with Allen during her
career, tries to explain why his lms are unique:

Allen directed, starred in, and co-wrote (with Mickey


Rose) Take the Money and Run in 1969, which reHe just has a mind like nobody else. Hes
ceived positive reviews. He later signed a deal with
bold. Hes got a lot of strength, a lot of courage
United Artists to produce several lms. Those lms evenin terms of his work. And that is what it takes
tually became Bananas (1971, co-written with Rose),
to do something really unique. Along with a
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex*
genius imagination.[50]
[8]
(1972), Sleeper (1973), and Love and Death (1975).
Sleeper was the rst of four lms where the screenplay
Between Annie Hall and Manhattan, Allen wrote and
was co-written by Allen and Marshall Brickman.
directed the dark drama Interiors (1978), in the style
I don't like meeting heroes. Theres nobody I want to of the late Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, one of
meet and nobody I want to work withI'd rather work Allens chief inuences. Interiors represented a departure
with Diane Keaton than anyoneshes absolutely great, from Allens early, funny comedies (a line from 1980s
a natural
Stardust Memories).
Woody Allen, Rolling Stone interview (1976)[27]
In 1972, Allen wrote and starred in the lm version of
Play It Again, Sam, directed by Herbert Ross and costarring Diane Keaton. In 1976, he starred in The Front
(directed by Martin Ritt), a humorous and poignant account of Hollywood blacklisting during the 1950s.

2.5 1980s
Allens 1980s lms, even the comedies, have somber
and philosophical undertones, with their inuences being the works of European directors, specically Ingmar
Bergman and Federico Fellini. Stardust Memories was
based on 8, which it parodies, and Wild Strawberries. A
Midsummer Nights Sex Comedy was adapted from Smiles
of a Summer Night. In Hannah and Her Sisters, part
of the lms structure and background is borrowed from
Fanny and Alexander. Amarcord inspired Radio Days.
September resembles Autumn Sonata. Allen uses many
elements from Wild Strawberries. In Crimes and Misdemeanors, Allen references a scene from Wild Strawberries.

Then came two of Allens most popular lms. Annie Hall


won four Academy Awards in 1977, including Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role for Diane Keaton,
Best Original Screenplay and Best Director for Woody
Allen. Annie Hall set the standard for modern romantic
comedy and ignited a fashion trend with the clothes worn
by Diane Keaton in the lm. In an interview with journalist Katie Couric, Keaton does not deny that Allen wrote
the part for her and about her.[50] She also explains that
Allen wrote the part based on aspects of her personality Mias a good actress who can play many dierent roles.
at the time:
She has a very good range, and can play serious to
comic roles. Shes also very photogenic, very beautiful
on screen. Shes just a good realistic actress . . . and no
Of course I recognized myself in the roles
matter how strange and daring it is, she does it well.
[Woody Allen] wrote. I mean, in Annie Hall
(1977) particularly. I was this sort of novice
Woody Allen (1993)[51]
who had lots of feelings but didn't know how to
express herself, and I see that in Annie. I think
A Midsummer Nights Sex Comedy was the rst of 13
Woody used a kind of essential quality that he
movies Allen made starring Mia Farrow, who stepped
found in me at that time, and I'm glad he did
into Diane Keatons role when Keaton was shooting Reds.
because it worked really well in the movie.[47]
The lm is ranked at No. 35 on the American Film Insti-

Stardust Memories features Sandy Bates, a successful


lmmaker played by Allen, who expresses resentment

2.7

2000s

and scorn for his fans. Overcome by the recent death of


a friend from illness, the character states, I don't want to
make funny movies any more and a running gag has various people (including visiting space aliens) telling Bates
that they appreciate his lms, especially the early, funny
ones.[52] Allen believes this to be one of his best lms.[53]

5
The Sunshine Boys (1995), based on the Neil Simon play
of the same name.

Allen made one sitcom appearance to date (2009) via


telephone on the show Just Shoot Me! in a 1997 episode,
My Dinner with Woody which paid tribute to several
of his lms. Allen provided the lead voice in the 1998
Allen combined tragic and comic elements in such lms animated lm Antz, which featured many actors he had
as Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors, worked with and Allens character was similar to his earin which he tells two stories that connect at the end. He lier neurotic roles.
produced a vividly idiosyncratic tragi-comical parody of
documentary, Zelig. He also made three lms about show
business: Broadway Danny Rose, in which he plays a New 2.7 2000s
York show business agent, The Purple Rose of Cairo, a
movie that shows the importance of the cinema during the Small Time Crooks (2000) is similar to the 1942 lm
[55]
Allen
Depression through the character of the naive Cecilia, and Larceny, Inc. (from a play by S.J. Perelman).
Radio Days, a lm about his childhood in Brooklyn and never commented on whether this was deliberate or if his
the importance of the radio. The lm costarred Farrow lm was in any way inspired by it. Small Time Crooks was
Allens rst lm with the DreamWorks studio and reprein a part Allen wrote specically for her.[51]
sented a change in direction: Allen began giving more
The Purple Rose of Cairo was named by Time as one of
interviews and made an attempt to return to his slapstick
the 100 best lms of all time and Allen described it as one
roots. The lm was a relative nancial success, grossof his three best lms, along with Stardust Memories and
ing over $17 million domestically but Allens next four
[54]
Match Point. (Allen denes them as best not in terms
lms foundered at the box oce, including Allens most
of quality but because they came closest to his vision.)
costly lm, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (with a budget
In 1989, Allen teamed with directors Francis Ford Copof $26 million). Hollywood Ending, Anything Else, and
pola and Martin Scorsese to make New York Stories, an
Melinda and Melinda were given rotten ratings from
anthology lm about New Yorkers. Allens short, Oedipus
lm-review website Rotten Tomatoes and each earned
Wrecks, is about a neurotic lawyer and his critical mother.
less than $4 million domestically.[56] Some critics claimed
His short pleased critics, but New York Stories bombed at
that Allens lms since 1999s Sweet and Lowdown were
the box oce.
subpar and expressed concern that Allens best years were
now behind him.[57] Others have been less harsh; reviewing the little-liked Melinda and Melinda, Roger Ebert
2.6 1990s
wrote, I cannot escape the suspicion that if Woody had
His 1992 lm Shadows and Fog is a black-and-white never made a previous lm, if each new one was Woodys
homage to the German expressionists and features the Sundance debut, it would get a better reception. His repmusic of Kurt Weill. Allen then made his critically ac- utation is not a dead shark but an albatross, which with
for the critics to
claimed drama Husbands and Wives (1992), which re- admirable economy Allen has arranged
[58]
carry
around
their
own
necks.
Woody
gave his godceived two Oscar nominations: Best Supporting Actress
son
Quincy
Rose
a
small
part
in
Melinda
and
Melinda.
for Judy Davis and Best Original Screenplay for Allen.
His lm Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) combined Allen was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of
suspense with dark comedy and marked the return of Arts and Sciences in 2001.[59]
Diane Keaton, Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston.
Match Point (2005) was one of Allens most successful
He returned to lighter movies like Bullets over Broad- lms of the decade, garnering positive reviews.[60] Set in
way (1994), which earned an Academy Award nomina- London, it starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Scarlett Jotion for Best Director, followed by a musical, Everyone hansson. It is markedly darker than Allens rst four lms
Says I Love You (1996). The singing and dancing scenes with DreamWorks SKG. In Match Point, Allen shifts foin Everyone Says I Love You are similar to musicals cus from the intellectual upper class of New York to the
starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The comedy moneyed upper class of London. It earned more than $23
Mighty Aphrodite (1995), in which Greek drama plays million domestically (more than any of his lms in nearly
a large role, won an Academy Award for Mira Sorvino. 20 years) and over $62 million in international box ofAllens 1999 jazz-based comedy-drama Sweet and Low- ce sales.[61] Match Point earned Allen his rst Academy
down was nominated for two Academy Awards for Sean Award nomination since 1998, for Best Writing OrigPenn (Best Actor) and Samantha Morton (Best Support- inal Screenplay with directing and writing nominations
ing Actress). In contrast to these lighter movies, Allen at the Golden Globes, his rst Globe nominations since
veered into darker satire towards the end of the decade 1987. In an interview with Premiere Magazine, Allen
with Deconstructing Harry (1997) and Celebrity (1998). stated this was the best lm he has ever made.[62]
During this decade Allen also starred in the TV movie Allen returned to London to lm Scoop, which also

CAREER

In April 2008, he began lming a story focused more


towards older audiences starring Larry David, Patricia
Clarkson[66] and Evan Rachel Wood.[67] Released in
2009, Whatever Works,[68] described as a dark comedy,
follows the story of a botched suicide attempt turned
messy love triangle. Whatever Works was written by
Allen in the 1970s and the character played by Larry
David was written for Zero Mostel, who died the year
Annie Hall came out.

2.8 2010s

Allen candid from 2006

starred Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Ian McShane, Kevin


McNally and Allen himself. The lm was released on
July 28, 2006, and received mixed reviews. He lmed
Cassandras Dream in London. Cassandras Dream was
released in November 2007, and stars Colin Farrell, Ewan
McGregor and Tom Wilkinson.
After nishing his third London lm, Allen headed to
Spain. He reached an agreement to lm Vicky Cristina
Barcelona in Avils, Barcelona and Oviedo, where shooting started on July 9, 2007. The movie stars Scarlett
Johansson, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall and Penlope
Cruz.[63][64] Speaking of his experience there, Allen said:
I'm delighted at being able to work with Mediapro and
make a lm in Spain, a country which has become so special to me. Vicky Cristina Barcelona was well received,
winning Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at
the Golden Globe awards. Penlope Cruz received the
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role
in the lm.
Allen has said that he survives on the European market.
Audiences there tend to be more receptive to his lms,
particularly in Spain, France and Italy countries where
he has a large audience (joked about in Hollywood Ending). In the United States things have changed a lot, and
its hard to make good small lms now, Allen said in a
2004 interview. The avaricious studios couldn't care less
about good lms if they get a good lm they're twice
as happy but money-making lms are their goal. They
only want these $100 million pictures that make $500
million.[65]

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, lmed in London,


stars Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins,
Anupam Kher, Freida Pinto and Naomi Watts. Filming
started in July 2009. It was released theatrically in the
US on September 23, 2010, following a Cannes debut in
May 2010, and a screening at the Toronto International
Film Festival on September 12, 2010. Allen announced
that his next lm would be titled Midnight in Paris,[69]
starring Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard,
Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen, Gad Elmaleh and Carla Bruni, the First Lady of France at the
time of production. The lm follows a young engaged
couple in Paris who see their lives transformed. It debuted at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival on May 12, 2011.
Allen said he wanted to show the city emotionally, during the press conference. I just wanted it to be the way
I saw Paris Paris through my eyes, he added.[70] It
has overtaken Hannah and Her Sisters as Allens most
successful lm at the box oce in the United States.[71]
Critically acclaimed, the lm was considered by some a
mark for his return to form.[72] Midnight in Paris won the
Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. His next
lm, To Rome with Love, was a Rome-set comedy released in 2012. The lm was structured in four vignettes
featuring dialogue in both Italian and English. It marked
Allens return to acting since his last role in Scoop.[73]
Blue Jasmine debuted in July 2013.[74] The lm is set
in San Francisco and New York, and stars Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay,
Sally Hawkins, and Peter Sarsgaard.[75] Opened to critical acclaim, the lm earned Allen another Academy
Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay,[76] and
Blanchett went to receive the Academy Award for Best
Actress.[77] In 2013, in Nice, France, Allen shot the romantic comedy Magic in the Moonlight, set in the 1920s
on the French Riviera[78] and starring Colin Firth and
Emma Stone.[79] Allen co-stars with John Turturro in
Fading Gigolo, written and directed by Turturro, which
premiered in September 2013.[80]
From July through August 2014, Allen lmed the mystery
drama Irrational Man in Newport, Rhode Island, with
Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey and Jamie
Blackley.[81] Allen said that this lm, as well as the next
three he has planned, have nancing and the full support
of Sony Pictures Classics.[82]

7
origins of jazz in New Orleans. The lm, tentatively titled
American Blues, would follow the vastly dierent careers
of Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet. Allen stated that
the lm would cost between $80 and $100 million and is
therefore unlikely to be made.[83]
On January 13, 2015, it was announced Allen will write
and direct a half-hour television series for Amazon Studios, marking the rst time he has developed a television
show. It will be available exclusively on Amazon Prime
Instant Video, and Amazon Studios has already ordered
a full season. Allen said of the series, I don't know how
I got into this. I have no ideas and I'm not sure where to
begin. My guess is that Roy Price will regret this, a reference to Price, the head of Amazon Studios.[84][85][86] At
the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Allen said, in reference to
his upcoming Amazon show, It was a catastrophic mistake. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm oundering. I
expect this to be a cosmic embarrassment.[87]

3 Theater

Allen in 2015

2.9

Future projects

While best known for his lms, Allen has enjoyed a successful career in theater, starting as early as 1960, when
he wrote sketches for the revue From A to Z. His rst
great success was Don't Drink the Water, which opened
in 1968, and ran for 598 performances for almost two
years on Broadway. His success continued with Play It
Again, Sam, which opened in 1969, starring Allen and
Diane Keaton. The show played for 453 performances
and was nominated for three Tony Awards, although none
of the nominations were for Allens writing or acting.[88]
In the 1970s, Allen wrote a number of one-act plays, most
notably God and Death, which were published in his 1975
collection Without Feathers.
In 1981, Allens play The Floating Light Bulb opened on
Broadway. The play was a critical success and a commercial op. Despite two Tony Award nominations, a Tony
win for the acting of Brian Backer (who won the 1981
Theater World Award and a Drama Desk Award for his
work), the play only ran for 62 performances.[89]
After a long hiatus from the stage, Allen returned to the
theater in 1995, with the one-act Central Park West, an
installment in an evening of theater known as Death Defying Acts that was also made up of new work by David
Mamet and Elaine May.[90]

For the next few years, Allen had no direct involvement


with the stage, yet notable productions of his work were
staged. A production of God was staged at The Bank of
Brazil Cultural Center in Rio de Janeiro,[91] and theatrical adaptations of Allens lms Bullets Over Broadway[92]
and September[93] were produced in Italy and France, reLife-size statue of Woody Allen in Oviedo, Spain
spectively, without Allens involvement. In 1997, rumors
of Allen returning to the theater to write a starring role
For many years, Allen wanted to make a lm about the for his wife Soon-Yi Previn turned out to be false.[94]

5 SIGNIFICANT WORKS ABOUT ALLEN

In 2003, Allen nally returned to the stage with Writers


Block, an evening of two one-acts Old Saybrook and
Riverside Drive that played O-Broadway. The production marked the stage-directing debut for Allen.[95] The
production sold out the entire run.[96]
Also in 2003, reports of Allen writing the book for a
musical based on Bullets Over Broadway surfaced, and
it opened in New York in 2014.[97] The musical closed
on August 24, 2014, after 156 performances and 33
previews.[98] In 2004, Allens rst full-length play since
1981, A Second Hand Memory,[99] was directed by Allen
and enjoyed an extended run O-Broadway.[96]
In June 2007, it was announced that Allen would make
two more creative debuts in the theater, directing a work
that he did not write and directing an opera a reinterpretation of Puccinis Gianni Schicchi for the Los
Angeles Opera[100] which debuted at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on September 6, 2008.[101] Commenting on
his direction of the opera, Allen said, I have no idea
what I'm doing. His production of the opera opened
the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, in June
2009.[102]

earliest televised performances was on The Dick Cavett


Show on October 20, 1971.[108]
Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band have been
playing each Monday evening at Manhattans Carlyle
Hotel for many years[109] (as of 2011,[110] specializing
in classic New Orleans jazz from the early twentieth
century).[111] He plays songs by Sidney Bechet, George
Lewis, Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone and Louis Armstrong.[112] The documentary lm Wild Man Blues (directed by Barbara Kopple) documents a 1996 European
tour by Allen and his band, as well as his relationship
with Previn. The band has released two CDs: The Bunk
Project (1993) and the soundtrack of Wild Man Blues
(1997). In a 2011 review of a concert by Allens jazz
band, critic Kirk Silsbee of the L.A. Times suggested that
Allen should be regarded as a competent musical hobbyist
with a sincere appreciation for early jazz: Allens clarinet won't make anyone forget Sidney Bechet, Barney Bigard or Evan Christopher. His piping tone and strings of
staccato notes can't approximate melodic or lyrical phrasing. Still his earnestness and the obvious regard he has for
traditional jazz counts for something.[113]

Jazz
In October 2011, Woody Allens one-act play called Hon- Allen and his band played the Montreal International
Festival on two consecutive nights in June 2008.[114]
eymoon Motel premiered as one in a series of one act
plays on Broadway titled Relatively Speaking.[103] Also
contributing to the plays are Elaine May and Ethan Coen
5 Signicant works about Allen
with John Turturro directing.[104]
It was announced in February 2012 that Allen would
adapt Bullets over Broadway into a Broadway musical. It
opened on April 10, 2014 and closed on August 24th,
2014.[105]

Music

Woody Allen with Jerry Zigmont and Simon Wettenhall performing at Vienne Jazz Festival, Vienne, France, September 20, 2003

Allen is a passionate fan of jazz, featured prominently in


the soundtracks to his lms. He began playing the clarinet as a child and took his stage name from clarinetist
Woody Herman.[106] He has performed publicly at least
since the late 1960s, notably with the Preservation Hall
Jazz Band on the soundtrack of Sleeper.[107] One of his

A panel from Stuart Hamples Inside Woody Allen comic strip

Apart from Wild Man Blues, directed by Barbara Kopple,


there are other documentaries featuring Woody Allen,
including the 2002 cable-television documentary Woody

6.1

Marriages and romantic relationships

Allen: a Life in Film, directed by Time lm critic Richard


Schickel, which interlaces interviews of Allen with clips
of his lms, and Meetin' WA, a short interview of Allen
by French director Jean-Luc Godard. In 2011 the PBS
series American Masters co-produced a comprehensive
documentary about him, Woody Allen: a Documentary
directed by Robert B. Weide.[8]

9
6.1.3 Diane Keaton

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 lms,
including Sleeper as a futuristic poet and Love and Death
Eric Lax authored the book Woody Allen: A Biogra- as a composite character based on the novels of Tolstoy
phy.[115] From 1976 to 1984, Stuart Hample wrote and and Dostoevsky. Annie Hall was very important in Allen
drew Inside Woody Allen, a comic strip based on Allens and Keatons careers. It is said that the role was written
for her, as Diane Keatons given name is Diane Hall. She
lm persona.
then starred in Interiors as a poet, followed by Manhattan.
In 1987, she had a cameo as a nightclub singer in Radio
Days and was chosen to replace Mia Farrow in the costarring role for Manhattan Murder Mystery after Allen
6 Personal life
and Farrow began having troubles with their personal and
working relationship while making this lm. Keaton has
6.1 Marriages and romantic relationships not worked with Allen since Manhattan Murder Mystery.
Since the end of their romantic relationship, Keaton and
Allen remain close friends.[118]
Allen has had three wives: Harlene Rosen (19541959),
Louise Lasser (19661970) and Soon-Yi Previn (1997
present). Though he had a 12-year romantic relationship 6.1.4 Stacey Nelkin and Mariel Hemingway
with actress Mia Farrow, the two never married. Allen
also had romantic relationships with Stacey Nelkin and The lm Manhattan is said by the Los Angeles Times[119]
Diane Keaton.
to be widely known to have been based on his roman-

6.1.1

Harlene Rosen

tic relationship with actress Stacey Nelkin. Her bit part


in Annie Hall ended up on the cutting room oor, and
their relationship, though never publicly acknowledged by
Allen, reportedly began when she was 17, and a student
at New Yorks Stuyvesant High School.[120][121][122]

At age 19, Allen married 16-year-old Harlene Rosen.[116]


The marriage lasted from 1954 to 1959. Time stated that In her memoir Out Came The Sun: Overcoming The
Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction and Suicide in My
the years were nettling and unsettling.[116]
Family (2015), Mariel Hemingway alleged that Allen had
Rosen, whom Allen referred to in his standup act as the
a crush on her at the time Manhattan (1979) was in proDread Mrs. Allen, sued him for defamation due to comduction and shortly afterwards wanted their platonic rements at a TV appearance shortly after their divorce.
lationship to turn into something more. Hemingway was
Allen tells a dierent story on his mid-1960s standup althen 17 or 18 and Allen in his mid-40s.[123][124] Allen
bum Standup Comic. In his act, Allen said that Rosen
suggested they holiday in Paris together, but without saysued him because of a joke he made in an interview.
ing they would share a bedroom. Hemingways parRosen had been sexually assaulted outside her apartment
ents are said to have gently encouraged the liaison, but
and according to Allen, the newspapers reported that she
Hemingway herself writes that she nally resisted Allens
had been violated. In the interview, Allen said, Knowapproaches.[123][124]
ing my ex-wife, it probably wasn't a moving violation.
In an interview on The Dick Cavett Show, Allen brought
up the incident again where he repeated his comments 6.1.5 Mia Farrow
and stated that the sum for which he was sued was "$1
million.[117]
Around 1980, Allen began a relationship with actress Mia
Farrow, who had leading roles in all of his lms as a director from 1982 to 1992. Farrow and Allen never married and kept separate homes.[125] In 1991, The New York
6.1.2 Louise Lasser
Times opined on Allens family life with Farrow: Few
Allen married Louise Lasser in 1966. They divorced in married couples seem more married. They are constantly
spend as
1970, and Allen did not marry again until 1997. Lasser in touch with each other, and not many fathers
[125]
much
time
with
their
children
as
Allen
does.
appeared in three Allen lms shortly after the divorce
Take the Money and Run, Bananas, and Everything You Allen and Farrow separated in 1992, after Farrow disAlways Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to covered nude photographs that Allen had taken of SoonYi, Farrows adopted daughter who was around 20 years
Ask) and later briey appeared in Stardust Memories.

10

6 PERSONAL LIFE

old at the time.[126][127] In her autobiography, What Falls 6.2 Children


Away (New York: Doubleday, 1997), Farrow says that
Allen admitted to a relationship with Soon-Yi.[128]
Mia Farrow and Allen jointly adopted two children, Dy(who changed her name to Eliza and later to
[129]
In a 2005 Vanity Fair interview,
Allen estimated that, lan Farrow
[135]
Malone)
and Moshe Farrow (known as Moses); they
despite the scandals damage to his reputation, Farrows
also
had
one
biological child, Satchel Farrow (known as
discovery of Allens attraction to Soon-Yi Previn by ndRonan
Seamus
Farrow). Allen did not adopt any of Faring nude photographs of her was just one of the forturows
other
children,
including Soon-Yi Farrow Previn
itous events, one of the great pieces of luck in my life. .
(adopted
daughter
of
Farrow and Andr Previn, now
. It was a turning point for the better. Of his relationknown
as
Soon-Yi
Previn).
ship with Farrow, he said, I'm sure there are things that
I might have done dierently. . . Probably in retrospect Following their separation, Farrow won custody of their
I should have bowed out of that relationship much earlier children. Allen was denied visitation rights with Malone
than I did. In 2011, Allen said,
and could see Ronan only under supervision. Moses, who
was then 15, chose not to see Allen[136] but by age 36 he
had been estranged from his mother and reestablished his
What was the scandal? I fell in love with
relationship with Allen and his sister. Farrow also went
this girl, married her. We have been married
to court to have Allens two adoptions with her nullied.
for almost 15 years now. There was no scandal,
In that case, the court decided for Allen and he continues
but people refer to it all the time as a scandal
to be their legal father.[137]
and I kind of like that in a way because when I
In a 2013 interview with Vanity Fair, Farrow stated that
go I would like to say I had one real juicy scan[130]
Ronan could possibly be the biological child of her rst
dal in my life.
husband Frank Sinatra, with whom she claims to have
never really split up.[138] On Fathers Day 2012, Ronan
Farrow tweeted Happy Fathers day or as they call it in
6.1.6 Soon-Yi Previn
my family, happy brother-in-laws day.[139]
Soon-Yi Previn and Allen have two adopted
daughters,[140] Bechet Dumaine (born c.
1999,
China)[141] and Manzie Tio (born 2000, Texas).[142]

6.3 Child sexual abuse allegations


In 1992, Mia Farrow was given full custody of the children after the sexual abuse case was examined in court
and it was determined that the abuse could not be ruled
out. The judge declared, in his 33-page decision, that
Woody Allens behavior toward Dylan was grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect
her.[143]
Soon-Yi Previn and Allen at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival

After Allen and Farrow separated from their long-term


relationship in 1993, a long public legal battle for the custody of their three children began. Prior to the proceedings, Dylan Farrows doctor reported concerns that Allen
had sexually molested his adopted daughter, who was
then seven years old. The police-appointed medical team
concluded that Dylan was not molested, citing contradictory statements by Dylan.[144] The judge eventually
found that the sex abuse charges were inconclusive.[145]

After ending his relationship with Mia Farrow in 1992,


Allen continued his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn.
Though Allen never married Mia Farrow[125][131] and was
not Previns legal stepfather, the relationship between
Allen and Previn has often been referred to as a stepfather
involved romantically with his stepdaughter[132] because
she was adopted and legally Farrows daughter and Allens
sons sister.
After the custody case, the New York Department of SoIn 1991, when the relationship began, Allen was 56 and cial Services closed a 14-month investigation in the case
Previn around 21. Asked whether their age dierence was and concluded that, No credible evidence was found
conducive to a healthy, equal relationship, Allen said that the child named in this report has been abused or
report has, therefore, been considered
equality is not necessarily a requirement in a relationship maltreated...This
[146]
unfounded.
and The heart wants what it wants. Theres no logic to
those things. You meet someone and you fall in love, and In February 2014, Dylan Farrow repeated the allegations
in an open letter published by Nicholas Kristof, a friend
thats that.[133] The couple married in 1997.[134]

11
of Mia Farrow, in his blog on The New York Times 's website, describing how Allen allegedly sexually abused her
in the attic in their Connecticut summer home while she
was playing with her brothers train set.[147][148][149][150]
Allen repeated his denial of the allegations, calling them
untrue and disgraceful,[151][152] followed by an ocial response published in The New York Times.[153] Dylans older brother, Moses Farrow, defended Allen, telling
People magazine, Of course Woody did not molest my
sister, saying that their mother had manipulated her children into hating him as a vengeful way to pay him back
for falling in love with Soon-Yi. Dylan has denied that
she was coached by her mother, and has stood by her
allegations.[154][155][156]

6.4

Psychoanalysis

Allen spent over 37 years undergoing psychoanalysis,


and some of his lms, such as Annie Hall, jokingly include references to psychoanalysis. Moment Magazine
says, It drove his self-absorbed work. Allen biographer John Baxter, wrote, Allen obviously found analysis stimulating, even exciting.[157] Allen says his psychoanalysis ended around the time he began his relationship with Previn, although he is still claustrophobic and
agoraphobic.[129]
Allen has described himself as being a militant Freudian
atheist".[158]

Sleeper (1973)
Love and Death (1975)
The Front (1976)
Annie Hall (1977)
Manhattan (1979)
Stardust Memories (1980)
A Midsummer Nights Sex Comedy (1982)
Zelig (1983)
Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Meetin' WA (1986)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Radio Days (1987)
September (1987)
King Lear (1987)
New York Stories (1989)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
Alice (1990)
Scenes from a Mall (1991)

Theater works

In addition to directing, writing, and acting in lms, Allen


has written and performed in a number of Broadway theater productions.

Filmography

Main article: Woody Allen lmography


Films starring Woody Allen (as an actor):

Shadows and Fog (1991)


Husbands and Wives (1992)
Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
Don't Drink the Water (1994)
Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
Deconstructing Harry (1997)
Wild Man Blues (1997)
The Impostors (1998) (uncredited)

Whats New Pussycat? (1965)

Antz (1998) (voice)

Whats Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)

Sweet and Lowdown (1999)

Casino Royale (1967)

Company Man (2000)

Take the Money and Run (1969)

Small Time Crooks (2000)

Bananas (1971)

Picking Up the Pieces (2000)

Play It Again, Sam (1972)

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex*


(*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972)

Stanley Kubrick:
(documentary)

A Life in Pictures (2001)

12

10

Hollywood Ending (2002)


Anything Else (2003)
Match Point (2005)
Scoop (2006)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Whatever Works (2009)
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Paris Manhattan (2012)
To Rome with Love (2012)
Fading Gigolo (2013)
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
Irrational Man (2015)

See also
List of awards and nominations received by Woody
Allen
Woody Allen bibliography

10

References

[1] Lax, Eric (1991). Woody Allen: A Biography. Woody


Allen: A Biography. Retrieved February 3, 2014. Woody
Allen was born in Brooklyn, New York, in the spring of
1952, When Allan Stewart Konigsberg, who was born in
the Bronx on December 1, 1935, settled on the name as a
suitable cover.

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15

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Plays Jazz at the Carlyle Hotel. nearsay.com. Retrieved
scan Mia had done on her in the US put her age at between
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[122] Bailey, Peter J. (2001). The Reluctant Film Art of Woody
brainwashing without hesitation. He recently reestabAllen. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. p. 61.
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[121] Baxter, John (1998). Woody Allen: A Biography. New
York: Carroll & Graf. pp. 226, 248, 249, 250, 253, 273
4, 385, 416. ISBN 978-0786708079.

16

11

EXTERNAL LINKS

[138] Exclusive: Mia Farrow and Eight of Her Children Speak [155] Rothma, Michael (February 5, 2014). Dylan Farrows
Out on Their Lives, Frank Sinatra, and the Scandals
Brother Moses Says Mia Farrow, Not Woody Allen Was
They've Endured. Vanity Fair. October 2, 2013. ReAbusive. ABC News. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
trieved October 2, 2013.
[156] Nye, James (February 8, 2014). "'Nothing he says or
writes can change the truth': Dylan Farrow hits back at
[139] Eileen Murphy (June 18, 2012). Woody Allens Son Roadopted father Woody Allen after he again denies sexunan Drops Fathers Day Bomb. ABC News. Retrieved
ally abusing her. Daily Mail. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
February 3, 2014.
[140] Silverman, Stephen M. (November 1, 2005). Woody [157] Moment Mag. Archived from the original on March 11,
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[158] YouTube. May 19, 2008. Retrieved May 19, 2008.
[141] Danis, Kirsten (April 25, 1999). Woody: Its our baby [159] Woody Allen Biography (1935)". lmreference.com.
; He and Soon'Yi stroll with infant daughter. New York
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Post. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
[142] Theres a new girl in woodys life. Daily News (New
York). August 23, 2000. Retrieved February 3, 2014.

11 External links

[143] Orth, Maureen (February 17, 2014). 10 Undeniable


Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation.
Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 18, 2015.

Ocial website

[144] Prez-Pea, Richard (May 4, 1993). Doctor Cites Inconsistencies In Dylan Farrows Statement. The New York
Times. Retrieved February 4, 2014.

Woody Allen at AllMovie

[145] Brozan, Nadine (May 13, 1994). Chronicle. The New


York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2015.

Woody Allen at the Internet Broadway Database

[146] Prez-Pea, Richard (October 26, 1993). Agency Drops


Abuse Inquiry in Allen Case. The New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
[147] Farrow, Dylan (February 1, 2014). An Open Letter
From Dylan Farrow. On the Ground (Nicholas Kristof
blog of The New York Times). Retrieved February 3,
2014.
[148] Shard, Catherine (February 2, 2014). Dylan Farrow,
adopted daughter of Woody Allen, alleges he abused her.
The Guardian. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
[149] Sta (February 2, 2014). Woody Allen accused of sex
abuse by adopted daughter. BBC News. Retrieved June
18, 2015.
[150] Orth, Maureen (February 7, 2014). 10 Undeniable
Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation.
Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
[151] Sta (February 3, 2014). Woody Allen rejects 'untrue
and disgraceful' sex abuse claims. Agence France-Presse
(via Yahoo! News). Retrieved June 18, 2015.
[152] Moore, Suzanne (February 3, 2014). The kangaroo
court of Twitter is no place to judge Woody Allen. The
Guardian. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
[153] Allen, Woody (February 7, 2014). Woody Allen Speaks
Out. The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
[154] Dennis, Alicia (February 5, 2014). Dylan Farrows
Brother Moses Defends Woody Allen. People. Retrieved
June 18, 2015.

Woody Allen at the Internet Movie Database

Woody Allen at the TCM Movie Database

Woody Allen on National Public Radio June 15,


2009
Woody Allen at the Internet O-Broadway
Database
Appearances on C-SPAN
Works by or about Woody Allen in libraries
(WorldCat catalog)
Woody Allen collected news and commentary at The
Guardian
Woody Allen collected news and commentary at The
New York Times

17

12
12.1

Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses


Text

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12.2

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Zigmont.)

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