Heywood “Woody” Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; November 30, 1935)[a] is an American filmmaker, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades. Allen has received many accolades, including the most nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, with 16. He has won four Academy Awards, nine BAFTA Awards, two Golden Globe Awards and a Grammy Award, as well as nominations for a Emmy Award and a Tony Award. Allen was awarded the Directors Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995, an Honorary Golden Lion in 1995, the BAFTA Fellowship in 1997, an Honorary Palme d’Or in 2002, and the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2014. Two of his films have been inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.
Allen began his career writing material for television in the 1950s, mainly Your Show of Shows (1950–54), alongside Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, and Neil Simon. He also published several books of short stories and wrote humor pieces for The New Yorker. In the early 1960s, he performed as a stand-up comedian in Greenwich Village alongside Lenny Bruce, Elaine May, Mike Nichols, and Joan Rivers. There he developed a monologue style (rather than traditional jokes) and the persona of an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish. During this time he released three comedy albums, earning a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album nomination for the self-titled Woody Allen (1964). In 2004, Comedy Central ranked Allen fourth on a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians, while a UK survey ranked Allen the third-greatest comedian.
By the mid-1960s, Allen was writing and directing films, first specializing in slapstick comedies such as Take the Money and Run (1969), Bananas (1971), Sleeper (1973), and Love and Death (1975), before moving into dramatic material influenced by European art cinema during the late 1970s with Interiors (1978), Manhattan (1979), and Stardust Memories (1980). Allen is often identified as part of the New Hollywood wave of filmmakers of the mid-1960s to late 1970s such as Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, and Sidney Lumet. He often stars in his films, typically in the persona he developed as a standup. His film Annie Hall (1977), a romantic comedy featuring Allen and his frequent collaborator Diane Keaton, won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress for Keaton.
Critics have called his work from the 1980s his most developed period, with films such as Zelig (1983), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Radio Days (1987), and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). He earned acclaim for his films in the 1990s including Husbands and Wives (1992), Bullets Over Broadway (1994), Everyone Says I Love You (1996), Deconstructing Harry (1997), and Sweet and Lowdown (1999). In the 21st century, many of Allen’s films were shot in Europe, including Match Point (2005), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Midnight in Paris (2011), and To Rome with Love (2012). Blue Jasmine (2013), and Cafe Society (2016) were filmed in the U.S.
In 1979, Allen began a professional and personal relationship with actress Mia Farrow. Over a decade-long period, they collaborated on 13 films and conceived a child, the journalist Ronan Farrow, who was born in 1987. The couple separated after Allen began a relationship in 1991 with Mia’s and Andre Previn’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn. In 1992, Farrow publicly accused Allen of sexually abusing their adopted daughter, the seven-year-old Dylan Farrow. The allegation gained substantial media attention, but Allen was never charged or prosecuted, and he vehemently denied the allegation. Allen married Previn in 1997, and they adopted two children.