Biography of Woody AllenWoody Allen is a symbol of intellectual America, a Hollywood enfant terrible. Everyone knows him, but he is not close to everyone. The film director shocks and surprises, the audience laughs and cries over his pictures, each of which is a masterwork of cinematography.
ChildhoodOn December 1st, 1935, the first child was born into an ordinary Jewish family. Nettie and Martin Konigsberg named their son Allan Stewart, but the whole world knows him as Woody Allen.
The boy spent his childhood in Brooklyn. The family was poor. Torah and several religious publications they got in a local synagogue were the only books the family had. Martin was a jewelry engraver, but he made very little money, so his mother had a side job in a flower shop.
The boy had a great sense of humor, he knew how to show tricks and was good at basketball. But he hated school with all his heart. The small, redhead and weedy four-eyes was a butt of jokes for his schoolfellows. After the birth of his sister, Konigsberg's tiny apartment became even smaller, and the boy didn't have a place where he could study.
Cinema halls were the only place where the young boy felt good. When the lights went down, he switched off from reality and immersed himself into the film world. When the boy returned home from the cinema, he dreamt of his films in which he will star with the biggest Hollywood actors one day. When Allen still was in high school, he began to write short novels but didn't show them to someone else except his parents for a long time. Nettie and Martin loved to listen to their son's stories but didn't understand his passion. They wanted their son to have a decent life that would not be so difficult as their life. They wanted him to become a lawyer.
First StepsAfter high school, Allen entered a university but instead of the Law Faculty, he chose a course of Motion Picture Production. His choice upset his father a lot. His expel from the university for bad grades upset his parents even more.
For several years, the boy had performed in nightclubs, rejoicing the little money he proudly brought home. When Allen turned 17, he changed his name, which also disappointed his parents. But the audience loved the young comedian. His jokes were simple and very funny. Woody also wrote sketches for well-known comedians such as Bob Hope and Buddy Hackett.
One day his friend suggested he to send a few of his stories to magazines, and publishers approved his works. Such popular magazines as Evergreen and The New Yorker published Woody's stories. Shortly after, a brilliant style, irony, and sense of style brought Woody fame of a talented man of the pen.
In 1957, the boy got a position of an assistant to the editor of entertainment TV shows and shortly after began to participate in those shows. In a few years, participation in Andy Williams and Merv Griffin's TV shows made Woody a famous actor.
Dreams Come TrueHe started his Hollywood heart-winning campaign in 1965 - he worked on the script for the film What's New Pussycat?. Charles Feldman who didn't really love the existing script invited him to work on the picture. Woody's task was to edit it, add some sexual jokes and funny situations.
In addition to fees, the young boy received a bonus - a small role. A famous Warren Beatty who supposed to play the lead discovered that it had been cut in favor of the role given to the young screenwriter. The star didn't like it, and he left the project in the scandal. Peter O'Toole replaced him. Peter O'Toole, together with Peter Sellers, a French diva Romy Schneider and a beautiful model Capucine, formed an astounding company of film actors. What's New Pussycat? didn't stand out among pictures of the 60s and left its mark only as of the first Woody Allen's work, even though it had great commercial success.
Enfant Terrible of the Tinsel TownFrom 1966 to 2014, the film director shot over 50 pictures - he wrote scripts and played in most of the films. An unlimited number of dissertations can be written about his contribution to world culture. Each his work is a captivating and multilayer masterwork for true intellectuals. Before Woody, intellectual comedies didn't exist in cinematography. In fact, he is considered to be the founder of this genre. Before Allen appeared in cinematography, it was either intellectual or funny. But Woody found the way to combine humor, love, and lofty matters that have made him one of the greatest personalities in cinematography. Annie Hall released in 1977 is one of the most notable pictures created by Allen at the beginning of his film directing career. It was his sixth picture. Earlier Allen had shot such comedies as What's Up, Tiger Lily?, Bananas and a few more films. However, it was Annie Hall that has become his calling card and his first intellectual comedy.
The picture won four Oscar awards. In this film, Woody basically shares his own life story. The film director portrayed himself and a beautiful Diane Keaton who had been Allen's muse for a long time became his partner. Tony Roberts, Janet Margolin, and a very young Christopher Walken also joined the picture. The picture won the hearts of spectators right away. Light and ironic, it is a real masterwork of cinematography just like all his works that followed after this one.
During this period, Allen shot his famous film Manhattan in which he portrayed himself once again. By playing in the black and white stylized films, the film director opened himself to spectators more deeply. They cried and laughed together with Woody Allen. Marvelous sincerity and self-irony along with the acting and beauty of Diane Keaton brought Woody Allen the fame of a brilliant film director. The picture Deconstructing Harry has become another calling card in his career. By shocking American middle class with its greyness, in 1977, the picture received sarcastic comments from critics who again reproached Allen with gambling his own story.
It is a story about a man who visits his university he was spectacularly expelled from, and now the university gives him an honorary degree. Harry is a writer; he is a successful and well-known man. But suddenly, ghosts of the past appeared before him revealing him and spectators all his phobias: fear of a woman, yearning for love and fear of death. The way Harry has chosen is a stitch that ties so-called never-yet seen nonlinear direction introduced by Allen. The film was created based on the collage principle which puzzles are pieces of hope of the main character. Judy Davis, Demi Moore, and Elisabeth Shue joined the film. Of course, Woody Allen portrayed Harry.
Pictures released from 1980 to 1995 had some melancholy notes caused by the director's complexes he couldn't overcome on his own. Fears, disappointments, and failures in his private life required emotional outpouring and, of course, affected his works.
In such pictures as Stardust, Zelig, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her Sisters, Radio Days, and Crimes and Misdemeanors, the film director reflected his feelings that were far from being optimistic.
The film director is the main character in his films. If you look closer, behind those thick glasses that hide a daring man who ironically looks at the people around him, you will see a weak and even a little helpless man. Behind that sarcasm, he hides his fear of the future and desperately yearns for the past that has gone. Elegant stories consisting of woven together romantic, funny, and tragic moments of human life have become a distinctive feature of the master.
Mia Farrow who replaced Louise Lasser and Diane Keaton is now becoming Woody's favorite. Gena Rowlands, Charlotte Rampling, Jeff Daniels, Michael Caine, and a brilliant Max von Sydow gladly worked in Woody's pictures.
The film Celebrity with a young DiCaprio and well-known Joe Mantegna and Judy Davis has become another story about a failure who at the zenith of his fame couldn't understand either he was a winner or a loser.
To achieve goals he set for himself, he tried to do his best, go the extra mile, and outdo himself. Despite total commercial failure and traditional sarcastic feedback from critics, the film Celebrity has become that extra mile. The picture was appreciated a few years later, but it brought Woody down to the point when stopped to read feedbacks and reviews for his films.
In the next few years, the film director released a few comedies such as Sweet and Lowdown, Small Time Crooks, and Anything Else. The audience and critics loved pictures more than his previous works. They didn't break stereotypes set by Allen, by the way. They were simple and elegant.
Match Point released in 2005 was neither a comedy nor a hymn to his favorite New York, nor his own life story. The released social detective with elements of psychodrama wasn't one of those pictures the audience expected from Allen. The master shocked the audience once again by revealing the problems of society. Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Brian Cox played in the film and a young Scarlett Johansson got a chance to make a brilliant career.
Pictures released between 2007-2014, such as Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris, and Magic in the Moonlight belong to the European period in the career of the master who was shamefully accused in pedophilia. Psychological and very beautiful, created in the tone of the current surreal situation, they are not comic in the shared sense of this word.
Even though Allen's characters face comical situations all the time, a spectator's heart feels sadness after watching these films. It feels like aftertaste after having a glass of expensive wine. Such actors as Owen Wilson, Emma Stone, Colin Firth and Penélope Cruz who worked with the film director noted his nearly sacrificial dedication, as well as his kind and grateful attitude towards them.
In 2016, the film Café Society was released. In this work, Allen returned to the theme of the past again. His irony in this picture isn't mean, but soft and very sad. Amazingly beautiful decorations, skilfully written plot, and an astounding team of actors of the picture are another Allen's victory over greyness and vanity most people who even don't have time to see the beauty of this world encounter. The film Café Society is his victory over those who dared to accuse him of pedophilia. Such actors as Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg and Steve Carell joined the film.
In 2017, Allen finished working on the drama Wonder Wheel. Such actors as Kate Winslet, James Belushi, and an actor and singer Justin Timberlake joined the film. The film director's favorite theme runs through the whole film. He returns to the past once again, but why? The whole world expects to see new works of the master to find out the answer to this question.
The premiere of the picture A Rainy Day in New York took place in 2019. Elle Fanning and Jude Law worked on this film. The film received quite high marks from critics and was very popular with the audience.
Private Life of Woody AllenIt would be natural to think that the film director who has won the hearts of the whole world by his sense of humor is a humorist and optimist. But that's not true. It's known that Woody is a neurotic who suffers from melancholia and hypochondria. Allen has many phobias, such as arachnophobia (fear of spiders and all kind of insects). The film director doesn't eat fish because of fear of choking with a piece of bone and hates small tea-leaves in tea.
He reads his blood pressure and takes temperature several times a day since he turned 50. Allen is terrified of death and undergoes regular examinations in the best clinics. He visits psychoanalysts every day. He confesses that he has not found a doctor who can help him to get rid of a compulsive craving to take a kitchen knife and chase it after strangers walking down the street.
The film director was married a few times. In 1956, he married his first wife, Harlene Rosen. Their marriage lasted six years. After the divorce, the woman said that she had not expected Allen to be such a despotic and quarrelsome person. She sued Allen for moral damage caused by his behavior which cost him a tidy sum and she won it.
His marriage with the second wife, Louise Lasser, lasted even less. They married in 1966 and divorced in 1969. Woody's abrasive character and his infatuation for Diane Keaton became the reason for their divorce.
When Mia Farrow appeared in his life, it marked the beginning of their collaboration and long but unhappy relationships. Even though Woody and Mia were not married, they have a son, Ronan.
His infatuation for another woman became the reason for their break-off again. A 22-year old Mia's adoptee, Soon-Yi Previn, who he officially married in 1997, was a rival in their love.
According to Zoomboola.com, his net worth approximately is $150 million.
A Dirty StoryIn 1992, Mia reported on sexual harassment of Soon-Yi and her another adoptee, Dylan, by Allen. Ronan supported his mother and refused to maintain relationships with Woody Allen after the trial. Despite his testimony, the court rejected all charges against Allen.
After the premiere of Café Society in Cannes in 2016, Ronan and Dylan presented new sexual seduction charges against their foster father on their Instagram accounts. The scandal divided Hollywood into two sides - those who supported the film director and those who supported Mia and her children. Woody's ex-wives, Diane Keaton, Javier Bardem, Sean Penn, Owen Wilson, Martin Scorsese and Scarlett Johansson supported him.
His faithful wife, Soon-Yi, spends all her time with Woody who turned 82 in 2017. Her love and support mean a lot to the film director who said the words of gratitude to his wife many times.
In her interview for The New Yorker, Soon-Yi asked the public to ignore false insinuations. She also said that this old and dirty story has negatively affected Allen's health.
Woody Allen NowIn 2019, it became known that Woody Allen was working on a new film "Rifkin's Festival". Filming takes place in Spain and is financed by the same company as the director's previous films, including "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Midnight in Paris".
Plus, in 2020, Woody Allen still has echoes of the pedophilia scandal. So, in March, the publishing house Hachette Book Group (HBG) refused to publish his memoirs. According to the publishers, they were not aware of the shocking details and are currently not ready to take responsibility for the publication.
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