The Eccentric Woody Allen And His Surprising Journey



Woody Allen has had a revered career that has spanned over five decades. Yet the writer, director and comedian has also been plagued by some of Hollywood’s greatest scandals. Here is the hidden story behind the award-winning cinematic icon.

Rough Start


Woody Allen was born Allen Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 and changed his name to Heywood, aka Woody, when he was just seventeen. Allen grew up in Brooklyn, New York with his sister and parents. The future star had a troubled relationship with his strict mother and a difficult early home life.

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Smart Woody


Woody has always had a flair for eccentric behavior. He entertained his fellow classmates with his magic and card tricks. He studied at Public School 99 and Hebrew school for eight years. A graduate of Midwood High School, he was an avid baseball player during his school years.

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Developing His Style


At just fifteen, the budding comedian began selling original jokes to a local newspaper. Later, he began working as a comedy writer for television. His career in stand-up comedy started in the 1960s. He cultivated a unique style of neurotic and insecure comedy, getting laughs with his self-deprecating humor.

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First Failures


Woody seems to always have had controversial romances. Few fans know that Allen was actually married from 1956 to 1959. He married Harlene Rosen, who was just 17 at the time, when he was twenty. In fact, after their bitter divorce his ex-wife sued him for defamation when he referenced her as “the Dread Mrs. Allen” in his standup act.

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Budding Romance


Allen wrote and starred in his first successful Broadway production, Play It Again. It was then that Allen fell in love with co-star, the young and lovely Diane Keaton. Keaton was instantly attracted to Allen, stating in a 2013 interview: “I wanted to be his girlfriend so I did something about it.” Keaton and Allen went on to have a fruitful preofessional relation. The actress starred in five of his movies including Annie Hall and Manhattan.

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Finally, Success!


Noted as Allen’s most iconic film, Annie Hall went on to win four Academy Awards. In 1977, the film won for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. Keaton’s role was not only written for her but written about her. Allen used revealing autobiographical experiences as inspiration for his emotionally complex characters. The film is often credited as one of the best comedy movies of all time.

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Meeting Farrow


Named by the Times in the top 100 films, Allen proclaims The Purple Rose of Cairo in his top three best movies. The 1985 romantic fantasy comedy starred Mia Farrow. Another one of Allen’s most high-profile and subsequently scandalous romances was brewing…

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The Land Of Smiles… Or Was It?


Allen was becoming one of Hollywood’s most notable famous faces. More success was on its way with a string of acclaimed 90s films. His film Husband and Wives (1992) was nominated for two Oscars. Then, Bullets over Broadway (1994) also received an Academy Award nomination. The Mighty Aphrodite (1995) won an Academy Award. His next movie, Sweet and Lowdown (1999), was awarded two nominations for Academy Awards, as well. His career may have been thriving but his personal life would soon take a dramatic turn…

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His Best Work


In fact, Allen noted in a 2006 magazine interview that Match Point, starring the seductive Scarlett Johansson, was his best movie. This 2005 film set in London told the thrilling story of a affair which has deadly consequences for its leading female character. The film earned Allen his first Academy nomination since the late nineties.

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Better in Europe


Despite being a New York native, Allen’s movies were immensely popular in Europe. The director was not only achieving world wide recognition but also racking up an impressive bank account. Match Point made $23,151,529. His current net worth is reportedly $80 million.

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Scandal to Come


Allen may have a continued successful career but his many relationships have been controversial. In the late seventies, Allen began a tumultuous relationship with Mia Farrow. In 1977, Farrow and her ex-husband, André Previn, adopt a Korean girl, Soon-Yi Previn, who was believed to be around 7 years old at the time. In 1985, Ms. Farrow adopts a baby girl, Dylan Farrow, who was born in Texas. Scandal was soon to follow.

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In For A Shock


In 1991, Allen began an affair with Farrow’s 21-year-old daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. At 56, there was an alarming 35 year age gap between the two lovers. The relationship evolved in secret, with Farrow entirely unaware of the affair until the following year.

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Secret Revealed


In 1992, the shocking relationship would be uncovered by Farrow. Dramatically, Farrow discovered explicit nude photographs of Soon-Yi Previn in Allen’s apartment. He later testified in court that he thought the affair would remain secret.

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A Desperate Mother


Despite the shocking affair being discovered, the relationship with Allen and his supposed ‘daughter’ continued. In mid-1992, a desperate Farrow calls Susan Coates, her close friend and a psychologist for help. Farrow, in an attempt to protect her daughter, labels Allen as “satanic and evil” and begs Coates to “find a way to stop him.”

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Shock Allegations


Shocking and disturbing allegations were soon made by Dylan Farrow. The adoptive daughter of the director accused Allen of starting an inappropriate relationship with her at an alarmingly young age. Farrow claimed the inappropriate behavior began when she was just seven years old.

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A Horrifying Tale


A devastated Dylan Farrow would reveal details about the relationship in multiple high-profile interviews with publications like Vanity Fair. News of the affair would shock the Hollywood community yet Allen would go on to deny the allegations.

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Police Action


On August 17, 1992 Mr. Allen releases a statement confirming his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, saying it is “real and happily all true.” The same day, the Connecticut State Police announce they are investigating Mr. Allen. The focus of the investigation: the allegations that made by his daughter, Dylan Farrow.

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Such Great Lengths


Despite news of the official investigation, Allen denied the allegations. Soon after Farrows admission, Allen makes a public appearance to say he is “saddened” by the allegations and calls them “false” and “outrageous.”

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The Verdict is Revealed


After a seven-month investigation by a large team of professionals, Mr. Allen’s lawyers say he has been cleared of all charges by Dylan Farrow. Ms. Farrow’s legal team calls the confidential report “incomplete and inaccurate.” The dramatic custody battle for Mia and Woody’s children would soon be underway.

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An Intense Testimony


In 1993, the custody battle for the Farrow children would begin. When the actress takes the stand, her testimony would shock the world. The star went into detail of the allegations. She claimed Mr. Allen had a terrifying attraction to Dylan from when she was 2 years old.

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The Verdict


Allen would go on to lose the controversial custody battle. Acting Justice Elliott Wilk of the State Supreme Court who headed the custody lawsuit says Mr. Allen is “self-absorbed, untrustworthy and insensitive.” In 1994, to the shock of the Farrow family, Allen would appeal the court ruling but the appeal was soon denied. In 1997, Allen marries Soon-Yi Previn.

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Star Opinions


Ms. Keaton and Alec Baldwin, two friends and stars in Allen films, defend him in the face of Farrow’s troubling accusations. Cate Blanchett, the star of Mr. Allen’s popular film “Blue Jasmine,” is more critical of the director, saying she hopes Mr. Allen and the family “find some sort of resolution and peace.”

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Criticism From All


There continues to be much criticism for the actors who choose to work with the controversial director. Actress Ellen Page says that working with Mr. Allen was one of “the biggest regrets of [her] career” and expresses sympathy for women and minors who have suffered at the hands of the director.

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His Career Continues


To the shock of many in Hollywood, despite his troubled history with his daughters, Woody Allen’s career remains unaffected by the many scandals he has been involved in. Only time will tell if the world famous director will pay for his alleged behavior…