Why ruin a good story with the truth?.
94.5% of all statistics are made up.
- Death doesn't really worry me that much, I'm not frightened about it... I just don't want to be there when it happens.
- There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?
Allen was born and raised in New York City to a Jewish family; his grandparents were Yiddish and German-speaking immigrants. His parents, Martin Königsberg (born on December 25, 1900 in New York; died on January 13, 2001) and Nettea Cherrie (born in 1908 in New York; died in January 2002), and his sister, Letty (born 1943), lived in Midwood, Brooklyn. His parents were both born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His mother worked as a bookkeeper at her family's business. Allen spoke Yiddish during his early years and, after attending Hebrew school for eight years, went to Public School 99 and to Midwood High School. During that time, he lived in part on Avenue K, between East 14th and 15th Streets. Nicknamed "Red" because of his red hair, he impressed students with his extraordinary talent at card and magic tricks. Though in his films and his comedy persona he has often depicted himself as physically inept and socially unpopular, in fact Woody Allen was a popular student, and an adept baseball and basketball player.
To raise money he began writing gags for the agent David O. Alber, who sold them to newspaper columnists. According to Allen, his first published joke "was in a gossip column. It read: 'Woody Allen says he ate at a restaurant that had O.P.S. prices—over people's salaries.'"
At sixteen, he started writing for stars like Sid Caesar and began calling himself Woody Allen, which would remain his moniker (although it's unclear if Allen ever legally adopted the stage name). He was a gifted comedian from an early age and would later joke that when he was young he was often sent to inter-faith summer camps, where he "was savagely beaten by children of all races and creeds".
After high school, he went to New York University where he studied communication and film, but, never committed as a student, he was thrown off his course due to lack of punctuality and commitment. He later briefly attended City College of New York.
After his false starts at NYU and City College, he became a full-time writer for Herb Shriner, earning $75/week at first. At age 19, he started writing scripts for The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, Caesar's Hour and other television shows. By the time he was working for Sid Caesar, he was making $1500/week; with Caesar he worked alongside Danny Simon, whom Allen credits  for helping him to structure his writing style.
In 1961, he started a new career as a stand-up comedian, debuting in a Greenwich Village club called the Duplex. He contributed sketches to the Broadway revue From A to Z, and began writing for the popular Candid Camera television show, even appearing in some episodes. Together with his managers, Allen turned his weaknesses into his strengths, developing his neurotic, nervous, and intellectual persona. He quickly became a successful comedian, and appeared frequently in nightclubs and on television. Allen was popular enough to appear on the cover of Life in 1969 when Play It Again, Sam opened on Broadway.
Allen started writing short stories for magazines (most notably The New Yorker) as well as plays, the best known of which are the Broadway productions Don't Drink the Water (1966) and Play It Again, Sam (1969).
Examples of Allen's standup act can be heard on the albums Standup Comic and Nightclub Years 1964-1968.
His first movie production was What's New, Pussycat? in 1965, for which he wrote the initial screenplay. He was hired by Warren Beatty to re-write a script, and to appear in a small part. Over the course of the re-write, Beatty's part grew smaller and Allen's grew larger. Beatty was upset and quit the production. Peter O'Toole was hired for the Beatty role, and Peter Sellers was brought in as well; Sellers was a big enough star to demand many of Woody Allen's best lines/scenes, prompting hasty re-writes. This experience with meddling producers, egotistical stars, and directors ruining jokes, along with a similar experience on the James Bond spoof Casino Royale (for which he did uncredited rewrites of his own scenes), led Allen to decide that the only way filmmaking was worthwhile was if he was in control of the film.
1960s and 1970s
His first conventional effort was Take the Money and Run (1969), which was followed by Bananas, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask), Sleeper, and Love and Death.
In 1972, he also starred in the film version of Play It Again, Sam, which was directed by Herbert Ross. All of Allen's early films were pure comedies that relied heavily on slapstick, inventive sight gags, and non-stop one-liners. Among the many notable influences on these films are Bob Hope, Groucho Marx (as well as, to some extent, Harpo Marx) and Humphrey Bogart. In 1976, he starred in, but did not direct, The Front (that task was handled by Martin Ritt), a humorous and poignant account of Hollywood blacklisting during the 1950s.
Annie Hall marked a major turn to more sophisticated humor and thoughtful drama. Allen's 1977 film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture – an unusual feat for a comedy. Annie Hall set the standard for modern romantic comedy, and also started a minor fashion trend with the unique clothes worn by Diane Keaton in the film (the offbeat, masculine clothing, such as ties with cardigans, was actually Keaton's own). While in production, its working title was "Anhedonia," a term that means the inability to feel pleasure, and its plot revolved around a murder mystery. Apparently, as filmed, the murder mystery plot did not work (and was later used in his 1993 Manhattan Murder Mystery), so Allen re-edited and re-cut the movie after production ended to focus on the romantic comedy between Allen's character, Alvy Singer, and Keaton's character, Annie Hall. The new version, retitled Annie Hall (named after Keaton's grandmother), still deals with the theme of the inability to feel pleasure. Ranked at No. 35 on the American Film Institute' s "100 Best Movies" and at No. 4 on the AFI list of "100 Best Comedies," Annie Hall is considered to be among Allen's best.
Manhattan, released in 1979, is a black-and-white film that can be viewed as an homage to New York City, which has been described as the true "main character" of the movie. As in many other Allen films, the main characters are upper-class academics, literati, and occasional twits. Even though it makes fun of pretentious intellectuals, the story is packed with obscure references that makes it less accessible to a general audience. The love-hate opinion of cerebral persons found in Manhattan is characteristic of many of Allen's movies including Crimes and Misdemeanors and Annie Hall. Manhattan focuses on the complicated relationship between a middle-aged Isaac Davis (Allen) and a seventeen-year-old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway) – which presages Allen's complicated personal relationship with Soon-Yi Previn.
Between Annie Hall and Manhattan Allen wrote and directed the gloomy drama Interiors (1978), in the style of the late Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, one of Allen's major influences. Interiors is considered by critics as a significant breakthrough past Allen's "earlier, funnier comedies" (a line from 1980s Stardust Memories).
Allen's 1980s films, even the comedies, have somber and philosophical undertones. Some, like September and Stardust Memories, are often said to be heavily influenced by the works of European directors, most notably Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini.
Stardust Memories features a main character, a successful filmmaker played by Allen, who expresses resentment 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 throughout the film has various people (including a group of visiting space aliens) telling Bates that they appreciate his work, "especially the early, funny ones".
However, by the mid-1980s, Allen had begun to combine tragic and comic elements with the release of such films as Hannah and Her Sisters (winner of three Academy Awards) starring British actor Michael Caine, and Crimes and Misdemeanors, in which he tells two different stories that connect at the end. He also produced a vividly idiosyncratic tragi-comical parody of documentary, titled Zelig.
He also made three films about show business. The first movie is Broadway Danny Rose, in which he plays a New York manager; then, The Purple Rose of Cairo, a movie that shows the importance of the cinema during the Depression through the character of the naive Cecilia. Lastly, Allen made Radio Days, which is a film about his childhood in Brooklyn, and the importance of the radio. Purple Rose was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best films of all time, and Allen has described it as one of his three best films, along with Stardust Memories and Match Point. (It is worth noting that Allen defines them as "best" not in terms of quality, but because they came out the closest to his original vision.)
Before the end of the eighties he made other movies that were strongly inspired by Ingmar Bergman's films. September is a remake of Autumn Sonata, and Allen uses many elements from Persona in Another Woman.
His 1992 film Shadows and Fog (1992) is a black and white homage to German expressionists and features the music of Kurt Weill. Allen then made his critically acclaimed drama Husbands and Wives (1992) which received two oscar nominations; Best Supporting Actress for Judy Davis and Best Original Screenplay for Allen. His film Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) combined suspense with dark comedy, and starred Diane Keaton, Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston.
In the late 1990s he returned to lighter movies, such as Bullets Over Broadway (1994), which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director followed by a musical Everyone Says I Love You (1996): Allen's first and only to date. The singing and dancing scenes in Everyone Says I Love You are similar to the musical starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but the plot is comical. The comedy Mighty Aphrodite (1995), in which the Greek and Roman tragedies play a large role, won an Academy Award for Mira Sorvino. Allen's 1999 jazz mockumentary Sweet and Lowdown was also nominated for two Academy Awards for Sean Penn (Best Actor) and Samantha Morton (Best Supporting Actress). In contrast to these lighter movies, Allen veered scathingly dark and satirical towards the end of the 1990s with Deconstructing Harry (1997) and Celebrity (1998). Allen made his only sitcom "appearance" via telephone in the 1997 episode, "My Dinner with Woody" of the show Just Shoot Me!, an episode paying tribute to several of his films.
Small Time Crooks (2000) was his first film with DreamWorks SKG studio and represented a change in direction: Allen began giving more interviews and made an apparent return to his strictly comedy roots. Small Time Crooks was a relative success, grossing over $17 million domestically, but Allen's next 4 films floundered at the box office, including Allen's most expensive film to date, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (with a budget of $33 million). Hollywood Ending, Anything Else, and Melinda and Melinda were given "rotten" ratings from film-review website Rotten Tomatoes and each earned less than $5 million domestically. Most critics agreed that Allen's films since 1999's Sweet and Lowdown were subpar, and some critics expressed concern that Allen's best years were now behind him.
Match Point (2005) was one of Allen's most successful films in the past ten years and generally received very positive reviews. Set in London, it starred Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Scarlett Johansson. It is also markedly darker than Allen's first four films under the DreamWorks SKG banner. Match Point earned more than $23 million domestically (more than any of his films in nearly 20 years) and earned over $62 million in international box office sales. Match Point earned Allen his first Academy Award nomination since 1998 for Best Writing, Original Screenplay and directing and writing nominations at the Golden Globes, his first Globe nominations since 1987. In an interview with Premiere Magazine, Allen stated this was the best film he has ever made.
Allen returned to London to film Scoop, which also starred Johansson, as well as Hugh Jackman, Ian McShane, Kevin McNally. The film was released on July 28, 2006, and received mixed reviews. He has also filmed Cassandra's Dream in London. Cassandra's Dream stars Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Wilkinson and is expected to be released in November 2007.
After finishing his third London film, Allen headed to Spain. He reached an agreement to film his current project in Barcelona, where shooting started on July 9 2007. The movie will star international and Spanish actors and actresses, including Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem, Patricia Clarkson, and Penélope Cruz.
Allen has said that he "survives" on the European market. Audiences there have tended to be more receptive to Allen's films, particularly France, a country where he has a large fan base (something joked about in Hollywood Ending). "In the United States things have changed a lot, and it's hard to make good small films now," Allen said in a 2004 interview. "The avaricious studios couldn't care less about good films – if they get a good film they're twice as happy, but money-making films are their goal. They only want these $100 million pictures that make $500 million".
It has been rumored he will write/direct a segment for the upcoming film New York, I Love You
Dated Diane Keaton.
Daughter Bechet Dumaine born; unknown if she's adopted. [December 1998]
Ranked #43 in Empire (UK) magazine's Top-100 Movie Stars of All Time list. [October 1997]
Barred from visiting his daughter Dylan during on-going custody battle. However, visits to Satchel are to resume. [5 December 1996]
Refuses to watch any of his movies once released.
Suspended from New York University.
He loves Venice, and helped to raise funds to rebuild the venetian theater La Fenice, which was destroyed by a fire.
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#89). 
Adopted second daughter Manzie Tio Allen after she was born in Texas. She is named after Manzie Johnson, a drummer with Sidney Bechet's (jazz clarinetist) band. The news was only announced on 23 August 2000. [February 2000]
Brother of Letty Aronson.
Frequently hires musical director Dick Hyman to adapt classic American songs and jazz works into his films.
One of the most prolific American directors of his generation, he has written, directed, and more often than not starred in a film just about every year since 1969.
Accused British interviewer Michael Parkinson of having a "morbid interest" in his private life and rejected questions about the custody battle for his children during his appearance on the BBC's "Parkinson" (1971) in 1999.
Born at 10:55 PM EST.
Despite the advancement of sound technology, all of his films are mixed and released in monaural sound, although later ones have a mono Dolby Digital mix.
Made what was apparently his first and probably his last appearance at the Oscars in Hollywood in 2002 to make a plea for producers to continue filming their movies in New York, after the 9-11 tragedy.
Years ago, wrote the concept for the film Hollywood Ending (2002) on the back of a matchbook. Years later, he found the matchbook with the notes for the film on it and made the film.
Attended the Cannes Film Festival for the first time in 2002 to receive the Palm of Palms award for lifetime achievement.
He has more Academy Award nominations (14) for writing than anyone else, all of them are in the Written Directly for the Screen category.
After completing his first musical, Everyone Says I Love You (1996), he stated that he'd like to do another in the future with an all-original score. Since making that statement, however, nothing has yet to materialize.
In addition to being a comedian, musician and filmmaker, he is also a respected playwright.
Some sources have incorrectly referred to his formal professional name as Woodrow. In his stand-up days, he referred to himself as Heywood.
Graduated from Midwood High School at Brooklyn College.
Biography in "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pp. 13-16. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Was voted the 19th Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985." Pages 20-29. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Has a look-alike puppet in the French show _"Guignols de l'info, Les" (1988)_.
Directed Carrie Fisher in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Natalie Portman in Everyone Says I Love You (1996). This makes him the only director other than George Lucas who has worked with both actresses.
#4 in Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians of All Time.
Biological son Seamus graduated from college at 15 and was accepted into Yale Law School.
Suspended from New York University.
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History (#89). 
Both of his grandfathers were immigrants, one of Austro-Jewish descent and the other of Russo-Jewish descent.
Longtime fan and season ticket holder of the NBA's New York Knicks.
Although he is barely interested in awards, he's one of the Academy's favorites - his 14 Oscar Nominations for Best Original Screenplay as of 2005 are a record for that category, and puts him ahead of Billy Wilder, who had 19 combined Oscar nominations for Writing and Directing. With 21 nominations in the combination of the top-three categories--acting, directing and writing--he holds the record there as well.
Directed 14 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Diane Keaton, Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton, Mariel Hemingway, Michael Caine, Dianne Wiest, Martin Landau, Judy Davis, Chazz Palminteri, Jennifer Tilly, Mira Sorvino, Sean Penn, Samantha Morton and himself. Keaton, Caine, Wiest and Sorvino won Oscars for their performances in one of his movies.
Is a fan of Alfredo Zitarrosa, one of the best Uruguayan musicians.
Ranked #10 in Empire (UK) magazine's Greatest Directors Ever! poll. .
He and Diane Keaton made 8 movies together: Annie Hall (1977), Love and Death (1975), Manhattan (1979), Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), Radio Days (1987), Play It Again, Sam (1972), Interiors (1978) and Sleeper (1973).
He and Mia Farrow made 13 movies together: Broadway Danny Rose (1984), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Alice (1990), Another Woman (1988), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), September (1987), Husbands and Wives (1992), A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982), New York Stories (1989), Radio Days (1987), Shadows and Fog (1992) and Zelig (1983).
Does not allow his films to be edited for airlines and television broadcasts.
As a boy growing up in Brooklyn, he spent most of his time alone in his room practicing magic tricks or his clarinet.
Got hooked on movies when he was three years old, when his mother took him him to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). From that day, he said, theaters became his second home.
One of the most prolific directors of all time, averaging almost a film a year since his made his debut in 1966.
Told reporter in December, 2005 that he has earned more money from two real estate transactions than he has from all of his movies combined. Sold his long-held Fifth Avenue penthouse (which he had purchased for $600,000) for a profit of $17 million, then sold renovated townhouse for profit of some $7 million.
Four of his movies brought home his actresses Academy Awards: Annie Hall (1977) for Diane Keaton as an outgoing and optimistic woman, Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Bullets Over Broadway (1994) both for Dianne Wiest, who portrayed an alcoholic woman and an over the top, boozing and fading Broadway star, Helen Synclair; and Mighty Aphrodite (1995) for Mira Sorvino as the lovable, ditsy and high pitched hooker/porn star and mother of his adopted son.
His godson Quincy Rose is also a successful writer and actor.
Wrote What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), Take the Money and Run (1969) and Bananas (1971) with his childhood friend and first writing partner, Mickey Rose. Rose also co-wrote on all of Allen's earlier comedy albums and had a big hand in writing the famous "Moose" sketch.
Said in a 2003 interview that he was "not interested in all that extra stuff on DVDs," and that he hopes his films would speak for themselves. To date  has never recorded an audio commentary, or even so much as be interviewed for a DVD of any films with which he's been involved.
Distant cousin of Abe Burrows.
Of his own movies, The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) is his favorite.
Was set to reprise his voice role in Antz (1998) for a direct-to-video "Antz 2," but the project never got off the ground.
Is a vegetarian.
Was named Honorary Doctor by Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, on 15th June 2007.
His variety of neuroses include: arachnophobia (spiders), entomophobia (insects), heliophobia (sunshine), cynophobia (dogs), altophobia (heights), demophobia (crowds), carcinophobia (cancer), etc. He also admits to being terrified of hotel bathrooms.