Director Woody Allen Celebrates His 85th Birthday Today

Dec 01, 2020 by apost team

Woody Allen is an American writer and director who's enjoyed decades of success throughout his career. From his start in television in the 1950s, through to current movies that he's still making in the present day, Allen's career is one for the ages. December 1 marks his 85th birthday, so let's take a look back on his career accomplishments throughout the years.

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A New York native, Allen was born on December 1, 1935, in The Bronx, but grew up in Brooklyn's Midwood neighborhood. His birth name was actually Allan Stewart Konigsberg—quite a change from the catchy moniker that he'd end up switching to at the age of 17. In fact, he changed his name to Heywood Allen but began adopting Woody for short.

His family's Jewish roots would become a big source of inspiration for his writing work. His grandparents had immigrated to the United States from Austria and Panevėžys, Lithuania, remaining in New York after arriving.

Considering his sharp wit it's unsurprising to learn that Allen began writing jokes to make money while still a teenager. He started by sending quips to newspaper columnists before being paid to write jokes for entertainers. Apparently not long into his career he began making more money than both of his parents combined.

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By 1956, at the age of 21, Allen started writing for television. In 1958 he joined the writing staff of Sid Caesar, alongside Mel Brooks and Larry Gelbart, who would go on to create the show M*A*S*H*. While working on the writing side of television, Allen began frequenting comedy clubs in Greenwich Village and began performing his own material. This led to him impressing actress Shirley MacLaine and producer Charles K. Feldman, which led him to the opportunity of writing the screenplay for the movie What's New, Pussycat?

Following this, Allen's career only continued to go from strength to strength. He wrote an acclaimed play for Broadway and started being published in The New Yorker, as well as appearing in small roles in movies and even made his first film. The success of his first original directing effort, Take the Money and Run led to a contract for more films.

The '70s saw Allen hone his craft over a number of films before he released Annie Hall in 1977, and it was the movie that served as his real breakthrough. The movie went on to win four out of five of its nominated Academy Awards, including Best Director and Original Screenplay, while lead actress Diane Keaton won for Best Actress.

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Two years later he followed up Annie Hall with Manhattan, which was created as a love letter to his hometown. The film garnered similar acclaim and some of his fans cite it as his best work. The next decade saw his star continue to rise, with many actors eager to work with him. Incredibly, by 2012, 15 actors had earned Oscar nominations for their work in his films—a testament to his directing style that afforded actors room to bring their own ideas to his films.

From the 1980s until today, Allen has continued to work at a fast pace, with over 75 movies to his name. Highly acclaimed movies that he's made in the decades since then include The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah And Her Sisters, Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris, Blue Jasmine, and Cafe Society

His idiosyncratic style has only become more unique, as he's managed to bring his films into the modern era. Film critic Roger Ebert once called Allen a "treasure of the cinema" for his hefty contributions to the medium. In 2014 Allen's career was honored at the Golden Globe Awards, where he received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.

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Not content with retiring and letting his storied movie career speak for itself, Allen turned to television in 2016, when he created a series for Amazon titled Crisis in Six Scenes. The show is about a middle-class family in the 1960s in upstate New York.

Even at 85, Allen is still continuing to work. In March of this year, he published a memoir titled Apropos of Nothing. The book is a personal account of his life, from his childhood in Brooklyn through his decades-long career in entertainment. 

On his 85th birthday today, we wish Woody Allen a happy birthday!

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Are you a fan of Woody Allen's movies? Which is your favorite? Tell us in the comments, then be sure to pass this on to those you know.

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