Heywood "Woody" Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg, December 1, 1935) is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, playwright, and musician, whose career spans more than six decades.
He worked as a comedy writer in the 1950s, writing jokes and scripts for television and publishing several books of short humor pieces. In the early 1960s, Allen began performing as a stand-up comedian, emphasizing monologues rather than traditional jokes. As a comedian, he developed the persona of an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish, which he maintains is quite different from his real-life personality. In 2004, Comedy Central ranked Allen in fourth place on a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians, while a UK survey ranked Allen as the third greatest comedian.
By the mid-1960s Allen was writing and directing films, first specializing in slapstick comedies before moving into dramatic material influenced by European art cinema during the 1970s, and alternating between comedies and dramas to the present. He is often identified as part of the New Hollywood wave of filmmakers of the mid-1960s to late 1970s. Allen often stars in his films, typically in the persona he developed as a standup. Some best-known of his over 40 films are Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), and Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). In 2007 he said Stardust Memories (1980), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), and Match Point (2005) were his best films. Critic Roger Ebert described Allen as "a treasure of the cinema."
Allen won four Academy Awards: three for Best Original Screenplay and one for Best Director (Annie Hall). He also won nine British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards. His screenplay for Annie Hall was named the funniest screenplay by the Writers Guild of America in its list of the "101 Funniest Screenplays." In 2011, PBS televised the film biography, Woody Allen: A Documentary, on the American Masters TV series.